‘There’s a secret border in human closeness,’

by Anna Akhmatova

For Nikolai Nedobrovo

There’s a secret border in human closeness,
That love’s being, love’s passion, cannot pass –
Though lips are sealed together in dreadful silence,
Though hearts break in two with love’s distress.

And friendship too is powerless, and years
Of sublime flame-filled happiness,
When the soul itself is free, a stranger,
To the slow languor of sensuality.

Those who try to reach that boundary are mad,
And those who have – are filled with anguish.
Now you know, now you understand,
Why my heart won’t beat at your caress.