I wrung my hands November 23, 2010Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
By Anna Akhmatova
Translated by Stanley Kunitz (with Max Hayward). Lest anyone take offense, try reading the poem reversing the genders. It works both ways.
I wrung my hands under my dark veil. . .
“Why are you pale, what makes you reckless?”
— Because I have made my loved one drunk
with an astringent sadness.
I’ll never forget. He went out, reeling;
his mouth was twisted, desolate. . .
I ran downstairs, not touching the banisters,
and followed him as far as the gate.
And shouted, choking: “I meant it all
in fun. Don’t leave me, or I’ll die of pain.”
He smiled at me — oh so calmly, terribly —
and said: “Why don’t you get out of the rain?”