Legend on An Unfinished Portrait

by Anna Akhmatova

Oh, there’s no reason for sighs,
Sadness is pointless, a crime,
Here, from grey canvas, I rise,
Vaguely, strangely through time.

Arms lifted, freely curtailed,
A tormented smile on my face,
I was forced to become like this
Through hours of mutual grace.

He wished it so, he willed it so,
With words, spiteful and dead.
Anxiety clotted my mouth: oh,
My cheeks with snow were wed.

It’s no sin of his, it seems,
Other eyes, he left to see,
No matter these empty dreams
Of my mortal lethargy.