‘Here we’re all drunkards and whores,’

by Anna Akhmatova

Here we’re all drunkards and whores,
Joylessly stuck together!
On the walls, birds and flowers
Pine for the clouds and air.

The smoke from your black pipe
Makes strange vapours rise.
The skirt I wear is tight,
Revealing my slim thighs.

Windows tightly closed:
Who’s there, frost or thunder?
Your eyes, are they those
Of some cautious cat, I wonder?

O, my heart how you yearn!
Is it for death you wait?
Or that girl, dancing there,
For hell to be her sure fate?