IN THE EVENING BY ANNA AKHMATOVA
The garden rang with music
Of inexpressible despair.
A dish of oysters spread on ice
Smelled like the ocean, fresh and sharp.
He told me: “I’m a faithful friend!”-
And lightly touched my dress.
How different from embraces
The touch of those two hands.
That’s how one strokes a cat or bird
Or looks at slender lady riders…
Just laughter in his quiet eyes,
Beneath his light gold lashes.
And the despondent voices of the violins
Sing out beyond the hanging smoke:
“Give blessings to heaven above
At last you’re alone with your beloved.”