To lose the freshness of speech, the simplicity of feeling,
Isn't that, for us, like a painter losing the power of sight,
Or an actor, their voice and movement,
Or a lovely woman, her beauty?
But don't try to keep to yourself
This gift the heavens have granted:
We're condemned – you know it yourself –
To squander, not hoard, its wealth.
Go alone, and heal the blind,
To know, in the heavy hours of doubt,
The mockery of gloating followers,
The indifference of the crowd.
Return to the Anna Akhmatova library , or . . . Read the next poem; Venice