‘I’m not one of those who left their land’

I’m not one of those who left their land
To the mercy of the enemy.
I was deaf to their gross flattery.
I won’t grant them my songs.

But to me the exile’s always wretched,
Like a convict, or a patient.
Wanderer your road is dark,
And the bread of strangers tastes bitter.

But in the blinding smoke, the flames,
Destroying the remains of youth,
We have refused to evade
A single blow against ourselves.

And we know that in the final reckoning,
Each hour will stand justified…
No people on earth shed fewer tears,
Are simpler, or more filled with pride.

by Anna Akhmatova

See more: https://americanliterature.com/author/anna-akhmatova/poem/im-not-one-of-those-who-left-their-land

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