A Ghost (Призрак), Anna Akhmatova

Akhmatova wrote this two years after the Revolution, in the winter of 1919

It’s early, but the hanging globes
Of rasping street-lamps glow are spitting,
More gayly, brightly, falling strobes
Of snowflakes’ glinting are now flitting.

Accelerating gliding pace,
As if the chase anticipating,
Beneath the blue’s mesh horses race –
The snow falls gently, unabating.

Without a move behind his sleigh
The gilded Cossack keeps his station,
With vacant glinting staring’s stray
Looks Tsar with manic animation.


Зажженных рано фонарей
Шары висячие скрежещут,
Все праздничнее, все светлей
Снежинки, пролетая, блещут.

И, ускоряя ровный бег,
Как бы в предчувствии погони,
Сквозь мягко падающий снег
Под синей сеткой мчатся кони.

И раззолоченный гайдук
Стоит недвижно за санями,
И странно царь глядит вокруг
Пустыми светлыми глазами.

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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