To commemorate the end of National Poetry Month, blog about your favorite poem and provide at least one link to other poems and/or a bio of the poet.
I will spend April 30th away from my computer so I'll cheat, start early, and pre-date the entry. (Mind you: This is something I can only get away with in an electronic medium. Walking up to someone in New York on, say, April 29th, and reading a poem to them will elicit very strange looks.)
I don't really have a favorite poem, though I have many favorite ones. Today I happen to be in a cheerful drinking kind of mood, and so I choose this little ditty by Akhmatova: The Last Toast:
Я пью за разоренный дом,
За злую жизнь мою,
За одиночество вдвоем,
И за тебя я пью, -
За ложь меня предавших губ,
За мертвый холод глаз,
За то, что мир жесток и груб,
За то, что Бог не спас.
I haven't found a translation I like, but being unable to improve upon any of them, I offer this one by Judith Hemschemeyer as consolation:
The Last Toast
I drink to the ruined house,
To the evil of my life,
To our shared loneliness
And I drink to you--
To the lie of lips that betrayed me,
To the deadly coldness of the eyes,
To the fact that the world is cruel and depraved,
To the fact that God did not save.
This entry is really just an excuse to give you this link to a page of sound files (in mp3 format) of Akhmatova's poems read by the author herself (including The Last Toast and several others). Plenty of information about the author can be found at akhmatova.org (in Russian, including more sound files of her poetry read by readers assorted) or Jilly's Anna Akhmatova (in English). Enjoy!