Saturday, August 8, 2009

Anna Akhmatova

During the Stalin purges, she was standing one morning outside a prison along with some other women, all of whom were trying to deliver letters and packages to their loved ones inside. Their waiting was made more painful because they were not even sure whether their loved ones were still alive and by the fact that the guards made them wait needlessly for hours simply to assert their authority. But, if they wanted to get messages to their loved ones, they had no other option but to wait.

On this particular morning, another woman recognized the poet, approached her, and asked: "Can you describe this?" Akhmatova replied: "I can," and a smile passed between the two women. --Ron Rolheiser, OMI, Reading the Signs of the Times, October 15, 2008

A Poet Without a Hero: Anna Akhmatova's Late Work, by Marjorie Perloff, BookForum, December/January 2005

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