Anna Akhmatova, Today is the Nameday of Our Lady of Smolensk. August 1921
Translated by Judith Hemschemeyer
Today is the nameday of Our Lady of Smolensk,
Dark blue incense drifts over the grass,
And the flowing of the Requiem
Is no longer sorrowful, but radiant.
And the rosy little widows lead
Their boys and girls to the cemetery
To visit father’s grave.
But the graveyard–a grove of nightingales,
Grows silent from the sun’s bright blaze.
We have brought to the Intercessor of Smolensk,
We have brought to the Holy Mother of God,
In our hands in a silver coffin
Our sun, extinguished in torment–
Alexander, pure swan.
Source: Anna Akhmatova, The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova (Boston: Zephyr Press, 1992), p. 593.