I’ve learned to live in wise simplicity,
To look into the heavens and to pray,
And wear away this vain anxiety
With lengthy walks before the end of day.
When burdock vibrates in the valley, terse
And rustling, orange rowan berries bent
In clusters, I compose delighting verse
On perishable life, life excellent.
When I return, the downy cat will lick
my palm, purr sweetly. I will be aware
On the tower of the sawmill by the lake,
An iridescent fire is aflare.
Flying from the roof, the cry of storks
Will interrupt the hush occasionally,
And if you were to knock upon my door,
I may not even hear, it seems to me.
—Anna Akhmatova (1889–1966),
translated by Jennifer Reeser