This collection is huge, some 948 pages. I have never made it though each page — I prefer to open the book at random and read a poem or two, which I have done over the years since I first purchased the collection.
Like may other writers who lived through two World Wars and Stalinist terror, she persevered. As noted on the back cover: “When committing poems to paper threatened to cause her arrest, a few close friends faithfully memorized her lines.” Quite something!
Here is a sample of her work, from 1946:
In a Dream
This black and everlasting separation
I bear equally with you.
Why are you crying? Rather give me your hand.
promise to visit my dreams again.
You and I are like two mountains…
You and I will not meet in this world.
If only at the midnight hour
You’d send me a greeting across the stars.
The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova, Zephyr Press; expanded, updated, subsequent edition, 2000; Roberta Reeder, editor, Judith Hemschemeyer, translator.