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March Elegy

 I have enough treasures from the past
to last me longer than I need, or want.
You know as well as I .
.
.
malevolent memory won't let go of half of them: a modest church, with its gold cupola slightly askew; a harsh chorus of crows; the whistle of a train; a birch tree haggard in a field as if it had just been sprung from jail; a secret midnight conclave of monumental Bible-oaks; and a tiny rowboat that comes drifting out of somebody's dreams, slowly foundering.
Winter has already loitered here, lightly powdering these fields, casting an impenetrable haze that fills the world as far as the horizon.
I used to think that after we are gone there's nothing, simply nothing at all.
Then who's that wandering by the porch again and calling us by name? Whose face is pressed against the frosted pane? What hand out there is waving like a branch? By way of reply, in that cobwebbed corner a sunstruck tatter dances in the mirror.

Poem by Anna Akhmatova
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