To Lose the Freshness of the Words and Sense by Anna Akhmatova (Anna Andreyevna Gorenko)

To lose the freshness of the words and sense, for us,
Is it the same as for an artist to lose vision,
Or for an actor – voice and motion,
Or for a gorgeous woman – her finesse?

But do not seek now for yourself to keep
What heaven has given to you below:
We have been judged – and we ourselves both know –
To give away, and not to keep.

Or else alone you go to heal the blind,
To know yourself in heavy hour of doubt
The students’ smug schaudenfreude
And the uncaring of mankind.


Date: 1915 (Russian), 2001 (translated)

By: Anna Akhmatova (Anna Andreyevna Gorenko) (1889-1966)

Translated by: Ilya Shambat (?- )


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