Anna Akhmatova/ Versions/
by Carol Ann Duffy
It isn’t happiness I seek.
My lover leaves to visit a lover.
I put my tired child to sleep
like a good mother.
I kneel in my cool, calm room
and pray to the angels-
how hard it is to live alone
and to pretend to be cheerful.
I ask for a vision of passion,
walking the path I know too well,
in my usual fashion,
to the cold, stone building on the hill.
Your grey eyes
stare from my solitude.
My heart stings.
You lie in somebody’s arms
on the other side of the river-
you, who told me Enough!
Murder your love!
But if I do, then who
will write you these poems?
Who will utter
all my unspoken, passionate words?
I am glad that the water here is ice,
that winter has turned its key
in the lock of the year.
My dress is a bright and brittle shroud.
My frozen words sparkle,
holding the light of your name.
I will never have peace or love,
but bitter fame.
He said a woman being a poet was absurd
and suddenly the air was full of birds
and given to me once again a poem’s words.
Here’s to the shell of our home.
Here’s to the hell of alone.
Here’s to the ice in your eyes.
Here’s to your lips and their lies.
Here’s to my life, only bearable pissed.
Here’s to Lord God Almighty, who doesn’t exist.
Carol Ann Duffy