The fog has lifted. On a walk to scout out possible Christmas trees, the prints of wolves (we thought) on the track. And rosehips, bare trunks of alders. Everything so beautiful and so finely-wrought.
All that I am hangs by a thread tonight
as I wait for her whom no one can command
Whatever I cherish most—youth, freedom, glory–
fades before her who bears the flute in her hand.
And look! she comes…she tosses back her veil,
staring me down. serene and pitiless.
“Are you the one,” I ask, “whom Dante heard dictate
the lines of his Inferno?”She answers: “Yes.’
— Anna Akhmatova (Translated by Stanley Kunitz with Max Hayward)