Akhmatova 1889 - 1966 (77)

You will hear thunder and remember me, And think: she wanted storms. The rim Of the sky will be the colour of hard crimson, And your heart, as it was then, will be on fire.



In the awful days of the Yezhovschina I passed seventeen months in the outer waiting line of the prison visitors in Leningrad. Once, somebody ‘identified’ me there. Then a woman, standing behind me in the line, which, of course, never heard my name, waked up from the torpor, typical for us all there, and asked me, whispering into my ear (all spoke only in a whisper there):
“And can you describe this?”
And I answered:
“Yes, I can.”
Then the weak similarity of a smile glided over that, what had once been her face.

Anna Ahmatova, was one of the most prominent Russian poets. She was born near Odessa on June 23, 1889, in an aristocratic family. Her parents divorced in 1905, she stayed with her mother; from 11 she started writing poems. She studied Law in the University of Kiev and in 1910 she married Gumilev, a well-known poet. When she read some of her poems to Gumilev , he tried to discourage her by saying: "Why not to become a dancer? You are so flexible!” He was wrong, few years later her talent overshadowed his. Anna published in 1912 the poetry collection "In the evening" and in 1914 "Rosario" a collection of small lyrical confessions of her personal life, with which she became acclaimed in the literary circles. In 1912 she gave birth to a son, however, her marriage was unhappily conventional. After the October 1917 Revolution Ahmatovas had to face persistent persecutions, exiles, humiliations and bans of her works. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Akhmatova refused to emigrate. In 1921 Gumilev was executed as an enemy because of his poems. Anna had a short marriage with a much older professor and then had an affair for 15 years with married poet Guerins.

Between 1935 and 1940 she wrote the long poem Requiem, a lyrical masterpiece, dedicated to the victims of Josef Stalin's terror, and largely a maternal response to her son Lev's arrest and imprisonment in 1937. In 1949, her son Lev was arrested again and exiled to Siberia. In a desperate and futile effort to secure his release, Akhmatova wrote a number of poems in praise of Stalin. She later requested the exclusion of these poems from her collected work. After Stalin's death, Publication of her work, including her essays and translations, resumed. She received international recognition and died on March 5, 1966,