Bella Akhmadulina

po_Akhmadulina-Bella2aIzabella Akhatovna “Bella” Akhmadulina (April, 10, 1937 – November 29, 2010) was a Soviet and Russian poet, short story writer, and translator.

She was part of the Russian New Wave literary movement. She was cited by Joseph Brodsky as the best living poet in the Russian language.


NIGHT
Bella Akhmadulina

Now on three sides the darkness grows deeper
with the coming of dawn, and still my
hand has no courage to reach through the solid
air to the white paper on the table.

For reason can not honestly resist my
sense of limitation! Now I cannot
let my hand wrote any of those careless
phrases that once gave me joy.

In darkness there are always many meanings;
it is easy to mistake the euphoria of
midnight, and a burning head that comes from
slackness and caffeine—for sharp intelligence.

But evidently I have not damaged my
brain altogether with my insane vigils.
I understand excitement is no merit,
however hot; I do not think it talent.

It would be sinful to ignore that misery! Yet
the temptation is sweet. How small and innocent
a gesture: to destroy the anonymity of night, and
call all things within it by their right names.

Even as I try to keep my hands still
each object flirts with me, and shows its
own beauty, I am invited with
every movement now to render homage

to each thing, convinced of my love,
whose small voice growls and begs
to have its soul celebrated in song—
for which it needs my voice.

And I want to thank the candle, and to have
its lovely light known everywhere, would
offer tireless epithets as
caresses. And yet I fall silent.

Under this torture of numbness, what pain—
not to confess even with one word
the splendor of everything my love looks
upon from darkness with stern eyes.

Why should I be ashamed? Aren’t free in
an empty house, in a flood of snow, to
write, however poorly? At least to name
the house, the snow, and the blue window.

A sheet of paper is defenseless: I pray
God to keep me modest. Here I sit
before a clear and most ingenuous candle that
lights my face now floating into sleep.