There is no saint with my name

I am so taken with Anna Akhmatova's poetry, with her dreamy yet striking imagery, and her wistful, occasionally ironic tone. The way the narrator of this poem sees is such magic to me — the idea that a day could be so blessed because it belongs to a loved one's namesake.

8 November 1913
The sun fills my room,
Yellow dust drifts aslant.
I wake up and remember:
This is your saint's day.

That's why even the snow
Outside my window is warm,
Why I, sleepless, have slept
Like a communicant.

-Anna Akhmatova
trans. by D.M. Thomas

Poetry Friday round-up at Big A little a

Incidentally, what do you think of the words "authoress" and "poetess"?

18 comments:

Oksana 2/13/2009 12:09 PM  

Mmm... I love her work too. I can only imagine how much more beautiful it sounds in Russian... although this translation captures the mood beautifully, I think.

Thanks for sharing!

pinkapplecore 2/13/2009 12:54 PM  

I love this, I've never heard of her but i'll look into it. thanks for sharing.

madison 2/13/2009 1:04 PM  

I really love what little I've read of her poetry; I really should read more someday...she very well could be my favorite poet.

I'm against "authoress" and "poetess". Old-fashioned-sounding and is it really necessary? I'm pretty much against adding "-ess" to anything to make it feminine (except I'm okay with "actress" and "murderess" is just so so funny).

Q 2/13/2009 1:51 PM  

I think those words are unnecessary and too long.

Noel De Vries 2/13/2009 3:00 PM  

Takes me back to reading War and Peace.

Erin 2/13/2009 8:40 PM  

I don't consider myself a feminist, but I have an aversion to when people insist on calling one an "actress" when "actor" would work just as well. I don't *mind* being called an actress, sometimes *I* call myself an actress, but when you can't be included--as in, when people say "these actors and this actress"--that bugs me. I AM AN ACTOR. Done deal.

Authoress and poetess are the same way - they don't bother me, per se, but they're not my favorite, either.

Erin 2/13/2009 8:42 PM  

Wow, I don't think I articulated myself well at all in that comment. I meant to say, I don't have a problem with those words or with "actress", but when people think you *must* be called that [actress], it's the only correct term, vs being able to be called actor, too--then it bothers me. Because actor is not a male term, people.

Does that make sense?

Q 2/13/2009 9:04 PM  

It made sense to me, Erin.

cuileann 2/13/2009 9:30 PM  

Fo sho. I agree.

Also with Madison that there is something quite funny about "murderess" - which of course reminds me of Flannery Culp and The Basic Eight...

Cassandra 2/14/2009 1:49 PM  

The poem is lovely. Thanks for sharing. :)

As for 'authoress' and 'poetess', I really don't have a problem with either (I actually call myself an authoress occasionally), but it should be an option to call oneself that, not a necessity. ...If that makes sense?

Georgie K. Buttons 2/14/2009 2:16 PM  

I prefer authoress and poet. Poetess sounds funny to me, but authoress makes me feel special. :)

Countrybelle 2/15/2009 5:18 AM  

beautiful. i love your poem choices. and, tho i don't think we should have to use them, i like "authoress" and "poetess." they seem romantic to me...

Amber 2/15/2009 6:36 AM  

"Authoress" makes me think of someone 'stately as a galleon', sweeping around tall and broad in many layers of fabric, declaiming things and striking people with the back of her hand or her jewelled bifocals. Also a definite article and a capital: "ah, here comes The Authoress."

cuileann 2/16/2009 11:27 AM  

Cassandra - Yep, totally.

Amber - That was too funny! I understand just what you mean, though. :D

Gem 2/17/2009 2:15 PM  

i don't like the word 'authoress' at all, it sounds diminutive and condescending to me. but then i always refer to myself as a 'writer' rather than an 'author' anyway. I'm saving the word 'author' for when i get a book published :)

... i think 'poetess' sounds kind of romantic, though. maybe because i don't really write poetry... lol

odessa 2/17/2009 10:08 PM  

beautiful! i love her poems, they're mostly short and succint, but very powerful.

i like the sound of poetess :)

Beth Kephart 2/18/2009 6:48 PM  

"ess" is kind of odd, methinks.

cuileann 2/20/2009 1:56 AM  

Gem, it sounds rather diminuitive to me to. Sort of like suffragette instead of suffragist.

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