A Ride


My feather was brushing the top of the carriage

And I was looking into his eyes.

There was a pining in my heart

I could not recognise.


The evening was windless, chained

Solidly under a cloudbank,

As if someone had drawn the Bois de Boulogne

In an old album in black Indian ink.


A mingled smell of lilac and benzene,

A peaceful watchfulness.

His hand touched my knees

A second time almost without trembling.


Anna Akhmatova                    

(from Rosary, 1913)