“The evening peal at monastery’s wall” (“Вечерний звон у стен монастыря”), Anna Akhmatova

A poem from 1914.

The evening peal at monastery’s wall
Appears to mirror nature’s benediction…
A pallid face hits faded pool with friction –
As now the grey-winged gloaming starts to fall.

Above the distant meadow white canoes
From alien world now with the shadows skitter…
O faithless hour, the hour of thoughts so bitter
Beneath the rising moonlight’s silver hue.


Вечерний звон у стен монастыря,
Как некий благовест самой природы…
И бледный лик в померкнувшие воды
Склоняет сизокрылая заря.

Над дальним лугом белые челны
Нездешние сопровождают тени…
Час горьких дум, о, час разуверений
При свете возникающей луны.

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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