The Grey-Eyed King (Trans. Of Anna Akhmatova)

Glory be to endless woe!
Yesterday died the grey-eyed king.

Red was that autumn evening and hot,
My husband calmly brought the news:

“Back from the hunt they brought his body,
By an old oak it had been laid.

Pity the queen. So young is she! …
Overnight she has turned grey”.

He picked up his pipe from the chimney breast
And went off to his evening’s work.

In haste I went and woke my daughter
To look at her grey eyes.

The poplars whisper through the glass:
“Not in the land of your king …”

by Pete Crowther

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