Anna Akhmatova: Poet of Stalin’s Terror

Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966)was probably the great Russian poet of the 20th century and a victim and survivor of Stalinist terror. See

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Akhmatova

Here is her poem to Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938) who did not survive the terror and died in a transit camp to the Gulag. The poem captures the frozen sterility of Stalin’s Soviet Union:

And the town is frozen solid in a vice,
Trees, walls, snow, beneath a glass.
Over crystal, on slippery tracks of ice,
the painted sleighs and I, together, pass.
And over St Peter’s there are poplars, crows
there’s a pale green dome there that glows,
dim in the sun-shrouded dust.
The field of heroes lingers in my thought,
Kulikovo’s barbarian battleground.
The frozen poplars, like glasses for a toast,
clash now, more noisily, overhead.
As though it was our wedding, and the crowd
were drinking to our health and happiness.
But Fear and the Muse take turns to guard
the room where the exiled poet is banished,
and the night, marching at full pace,
of the coming dawn, has no knowledge

Anna in 1922:

Akhmatova in 1922 (Portrait by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin)

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About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Conflict History, Conflict Poetry, Creativity and Conflict, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Anna Akhmatova: Poet of Stalin’s Terror

  1. Pingback: Childhood is but for a day… « creatingreciprocity

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