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Anna Akhmatova (1889–1966)


"Weep not for Me, Mother,
in the grave I have life."


The choir of angels glorified the great hour,
the heavens melted in flames.
He said to His Father: "Why hast Thou forsaken me?"
and to His Mother: "Oh, weep not for Me..."


Mary Magdalene smote her breast and wept,
the disciple whom He loved turned to stone,
but where the Mother stood in silence
nobody even dared look.

Born Anna Gorenko, in Odessa, on the Black Sea, she spent most of her life in St. Petersburg. In 1910 she married Nikolai Gumilev, a poet and leader of the Acmeist movement. He was shot as a counter-revolutionary in 1921. Remaining in St Petersburg (renamed Leningrad) during the siege in the Second World War, and with her son, and her lover, Nikolai Punin, both sent to labour camps, she came to stand for the voice of an earlier Russia that had neither been silenced nor forgotten. From

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