Anna Akhmatova Evening
In the garden strains of music,
Full of inexpressible sadness.
Scent of the sea, pungent, fresh,
On an ice bed, a dish of oysters.
He said to me: ‘I’m a true friend!’
And then touched my dress.
How unlike an embrace
The closeness of his caress.
Thus, you stroke birds or cats, yes,
Thus you view shapely performers…
In his calm eyes only laughter,
Beneath pale-gold eyelashes.
And the voices of sad viols
Sang behind drifting vapour:
‘Give thanks to heaven, then –
You’re alone at last with your lover.’