Requiem - Prologue

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In those years only the dead smiled,

Glad to be at rest:

And Leningrad city swayed like

A needless appendix to its prisons.

It was then that the railway-yards

Were asylums of the mad;

Short were the locomotivesí

Farewell songs.

Stars of death stood

Above us, and innocent Russia

Writhed under bloodstained boots, and

Under the tyres of Black Marias.

Anna Akhmatova