The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent


Poetry Wednesday!: "Стихи о Петербурге" ("Verses About Petersburg") by Anna Akhmatova (Russian)

"Вновь Исакий в облаченье / Из литого серебра. / Стынет в грозном нетерпенье / Конь Великого Петра...."


Here's "Стихи о Петербурге" (1913) ("Verses About Petersburg") by Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966). (This is on my YouTube channel, which mostly consists of my Sasha Reads playlist, plus a smattering of law-related songs.) Here's a link to a previous Akhmatova poem I read, "Лотова жена" ("Lot's Wife").


Вновь Исакий в облаченье
Из литого серебра.
Стынет в грозном нетерпенье
Конь Великого Петра.

Ветер душный и суровый
С черных труб сметает гарь…
Ах! своей столицей новой
Недоволен государь.


Сердце бьется ровно, мерно.
Что мне долгие года!
Ведь под аркой на Галерной
Наши тени навсегда.

Сквозь опущенные веки
Вижу, вижу, ты со мной,
И в руке твоей навеки
Нераскрытый веер мой.

Оттого, что стали рядом
Мы в блаженный миг чудес,
В миг, когда над Летним Садом
Месяц розовый воскрес, –

Мне не надо ожиданий
У постылого окна
И томительных свиданий.
Вся любовь утолена.

Ты свободен, я свободна,
Завтра лучше, чем вчера, –
Над Невою темноводной,
Под улыбкою холодной
Императора Петра.

For the rest of my "Sasha Reads" playlist, click here. Past poems are:

  1. "Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  2. "The Pulley" by George Herbert
  3. "Harmonie du soir" ("Evening Harmony") by Charles Baudelaire (French)
  4. "Dirge Without Music" by Edna St. Vincent Millay
  5. "Clancy of the Overflow" by A.B. "Banjo" Paterson
  6. "Лотова жена" ("Lotova zhena", "Lot's wife") by Anna Akhmatova (Russian)
  7. "The Jumblies" by Edward Lear
  8. "The Conqueror Worm" by Edgar Allan Poe
  9. "Les Djinns" ("The Jinns") by Victor Hugo (French)
  10. "I Have a Rendezvous with Death" by Alan Seeger
  11. "When I Was One-and-Twenty" by A.E. Housman
  12. "Узник" ("Uznik", "The Prisoner" or "The Captive") by Aleksandr Pushkin (Russian)
  13. "God's Grandeur" by Gerard Manley Hopkins
  14. "The Song of Wandering Aengus" by William Butler Yeats
  15. "Je crains pas ça tellment" ("I'm not that scard about") by Raymond Queneau (French)
  16. "The Naming of Cats" by T.S. Eliot
  17. "The reticent volcano keeps…" by Emily Dickinson
  18. "Она" ("Ona", "She") by Zinaida Gippius (Russian)
  19. "Would I Be Shrived?" by John D. Swain
  20. "Evolution" by Langdon Smith
  21. "Chanson d'automne" ("Autumn Song") by Oscar Milosz (French)
  22. "love is more thicker than forget" by e.e. cummings
  23. "My Three Loves" by Henry S. Leigh
  24. "Я мечтою ловил уходящие тени" ("Ia mechtoiu lovil ukhodiashchie teni", "With my dreams I caught the departing shadows") by Konstantin Balmont (Russian)
  25. "Dane-geld" by Rudyard Kipling
  26. "Rules and Regulations" by Lewis Carroll
  27. "Vers dorés" ("Golden Lines") by Gérard de Nerval (French)
  28. "So That's Who I Remind Me Of" by Ogden Nash
  29. "The Epic" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  30. "La chambre double" ("The Double Room") by Charles Baudelaire (French)
  31. "Медный всадник" ("The Bronze Horseman") by Aleksandr Pushkin (Russian)
  32. "Herbst" ("Autumn") by Rainer Maria Rilke (German)
  33. "Romance de la luna, luna" ("Ballad of the Moon Moon") by Federico García Lorca (Spanish)
  34. "The Four Friends" by A.A. Milne
  35. "anyone lived in a pretty how town" by e.e. cummings
  36. "Листья" ("Leaves") by Fyodor Tyutchev (Russian)
  37. "The Pobble Who Has No Toes" by Edward Lear
  38. "The Persian Version" by Robert Graves
  39. "Les deux voix" ("The Two Voices") by Victor Hugo (French)
  40. "Lines Written in Dejection" by William Butler Yeats
  41. "Loveliest of Trees" by A.E. Housman
  42. "Akh, chto-to mne ne veritsia…" ("Oh, somehow I can't believe…") by Bulat Okudzhava (Russian)
  43. "Alone" by Edgar Allan Poe
  44. "The Man from Snowy River" by A.B. "Banjo" Paterson
  45. "À la mémoire d'une chatte naine que j'avais" ("In memory of a dwarf cat I had") by Jules Laforgue (French)
  46. "When We Two Parted" by George Gordon, Lord Byron
  47. "A-Sitting on a Gate" by Lewis Carroll