under a spell...

Anna Akhmatova

“The mysterious spring”

The mysterious spring still lay under a spell,
the transparent wind stalked over the mountains,
and the deep lake kept on being blue,—
a temple of the Baptist not made by hands.

You were frightened by our first meeting,
but I already prayed for the second, and now
the evening is hot, the way it was then . . .
How close the sun has come to the mountain.

You are not with me, but this is no separation:
to me each instant is — triumphant news.
I know there is such anguish in you
that you cannot say a single word.

Spring 1917

                (Trans. Jane Kenyon)


James Owens said...

A beautiful poem. Akmatova and Kemyon seem especially well suited to each other.

Maybe it's just me, but do you think, in the last stanza, Kenyon (not Akmatova, I suppose) is having the most distant, delicate recollection of Donne's "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning"?

sam of the ten thousand things said...

That's an interesting point. I can see it now, though I hadn't made a connection before. In reading Kenyon's essays, I don't recall her mentioning the poem - but who knows.

Akhmatova opened Kenyon's approach to her own work. Bly is the one who pushed her in that direction.

Thanks for the read, James.