We Drunken Here

by Анна Ахматова

We drunken here, we harlots,
in cheerlessness, we share.
Wallpaper flowers, wallpaper birds;

Your black pipe, its smoke ascends,
to ink–blot hallucination.
I wear my lithe skirt:

The window glass, rote sealed,
blocks hoarfrost, thunder.
Your eyes wary at me,
eyes of a black cat.

Ai, dread forbodes me,
death mulls on me.
And she, she who last danced,
she can go to hell.

This loose translation of Анна Ахматова’s 1913 poem is based on Max Hayward’s literal translation, published in “Modern Poetry in Translation: 1983”.

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