"In Memory of M. B."

Unlock the depths of Akhmatova's elegy "In Memory of M.B."—Explore a tribute beyond the ordinary. Learn the hidden virtues of solitude and remembrance.

"In Memory of M. B."
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Anna Akhmatova was a poet from the "Silver Age of Russian Literature," during the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917. War and good literature may be symbiotic—the "Golden Age of Russian Literature" started a century earlier with the Napoleonic Wars. (Pushkin and Gogol were Golden Age figures.)
Akhmatova was an Acmeist poet. The Acmeists aimed to write with "Apollonian clarity" and concision. They criticized the "Dionysian frenzy" and excessive symbolism of prior poets. We'll now read Akhmatova's elegy to her dead friend, Mikhail Bulgakov. Bulgakov was a fellow writer best known for "The Master and Margarita." He died at age 48 from a kidney disorder.
Akhmatova is "sick with grief" and "smoldering on a slow fire." She grieves as an Acmeist, passionate yet restrained. She claims to be the only one who will mourn Bulgakov at his "dumb funeral feast," and the only one who will say a word about his "troubled and exalted life." She commemorates this man, "so full of strength and will and bright inventions" who hid "the tremor of his mortal pain."
Here is my gift, not roses on your grave, not sticks of burning incense. You lived aloof, maintaining to the end your magnificent disdain.
You drank wine, and told the wittiest jokes, and suffocated inside stifling walls. Alone you let the terrible stranger in, and stayed with her alone.
Now you're gone, and nobody says a word about your troubled and exalted life. Only my voice, like a flute, will mourn at your dumb funeral feast.
Oh, who would have dared believe that half-crazed I, I, sick with grief for the buried past, I, smoldering on a slow fire, having lost everything and forgotten all, would be fated to commemorate a man so full of strength and will and bright inventions, who only yesterday it seems, chatted with me, hiding the tremor of his mortal pain.

Story From

Anna Akhmatovaa Collection