Anna Akhmatova
Anna Andreyevna Gorenko ( – March 5, 1966), better known by the pen name Anna Akhmatova , was a Russian
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 and Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 modernist poet, one of the most acclaimed writers in the Russian canon
Russian literature
Russian literature refers to the literature of Russia or its émigrés, and to the Russian-language literature of several independent nations once a part of what was historically Russia or the Soviet Union...

.Harrington (2006) p11

Akhmatova's work ranges from short lyric poems to intricately structured cycles, such as Requiem (1935–40), her tragic masterpiece about the Stalinist terror
Great Purge
The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938...


O let the organ, many-voiced, sing boldly, O let it roar like spring's first thunderstorm! My half-closed eyes over your young bride's shoulder Will meet your eyes just once and then no more.

Translated by Irina Zheleznova

I go forth to seek — To seek and claim the lovely magic garden Where grasses softly sigh and Muses speak.

Translated by Irina Zheleznova

You thought I was that type: That you could forget me, And that I'd plead and weep And throw myself under the hooves of a bay mare...

"You Thought I Was That Type"

Damn you! I will not grant your cursed soul Vicarious tears or a single glance. And I swear to you by the garden of the angels, I swear by the miracle-working icon, And by the fire and smoke of our nights: I will never come back to you.

"You Thought I Was That Type"

I don't know if you're alive or dead. Can you on earth be sought, Or only when the sunsets fade Be mourned serenely in my thought?

"I Don't Know If You're Alive Or Dead" (1915)

No-one was more cherished, no-one tortured Me more, not Even the one who betrayed me to torture, Not even the one who caressed me and forgot.

"I Don't Know If You're Alive Or Dead" (1915)

Why is this century worse than those others? Maybe, because, in sadness and alarm, It only touched the blackest of the ulcers, But couldn't heal it in its span of time.

"Why is this century worse than those others?" (1919), translated by Yevgeny Bonver (2000)

All has been looted, betrayed, sold; black death's wing flashed ahead.

"Looted" (1921), as translated by Dmitri Obolensky

You will hear thunder and remember me, And think: she wanted storms. The rim Of the sky will be the colour of hard crimson, And your heart, as it was then, will be on fire.

"You will hear thunder and remember me...", translated by D. M. Thomas|D. M. Thomas

That day in Moscow, it will all come true, when, for the last time, I take my leave, And hasten to the heights that I have longed for, Leaving my shadow still to be with you.

"You will hear thunder and remember me...", translated by D. M. Thomas