“Of the cuckoo asked I boldly” (“Я спросила у кукушки”), Anna Akhmatova

Written at Tsarskoye Selo on 1st June 1919.

Of the cuckoo asked I boldly,
To discover when I’d die…
Pine trees’ tips were trembling coldly.
Yellow beam on grass did lie.
From the thicket there’s no answer…
I am bound for home,
Chilly breeze plays like a dancer
On my hot brow’s dome.


Я спросила у кукушки,
Сколько лет я проживу…
Сосен дрогнули верхушки.
Желтый луч упал в траву.
Но ни звука в чаще свежей…
Я иду домой,
И прохладный ветер нежит
Лоб горячий мой.

Translation by Rupert Moreton


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