A Promise (“Но я предупреждаю вас”), Anna Akhmatova


Here‘s Akhmatova – in great old age, from the sound of it – reciting this poem. The words differ slightly – is it her memory, or has she revised it?

I’ll tell you this now in advance,
As life is nearing final dance.
As maple, nor as swallow,
As constellation, nor as reed,
As bubbling water, nor indeed
As bell’s a-peeling bellow –
I’ll not return – be not disturbed –
And others dream can unperturbed
By endless moaning’s wallow.


Но я предупреждаю вас,
Что я живу в последний раз.
Ни ласточкой, ни кленом,
Ни тростником и ни звездой,
Ни родниковою водой,
Ни колокольным звоном –
Не буду я людей смущать
И сны чужие навещать
Неутоленным стоном.

Translation by Rupert Moreton 

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