‘Because somewhere there’s simplicity and light,’

by Anna Akhmatova

Because somewhere there’s simplicity and light,
Transparent, warm and joyous…
There a neighbour talks with a girl at twilight,
Over the fence, and only the bees hear,
The most tender of murmurings.

While we live with ceremony, difficulty,
Honouring the rites of our bitter meetings,
Where a sudden reckless gust
Breaks off the sentence begun –

But we’d not exchange for anything
This granite city of fame and misfortune,
The wide rivers of shining ice,
The sunless, gloomy gardens,
The barely audible voice of the Muse.