In Memory of Mikhail Bulgakov
This, not graveyard roses, is my gift;And I won’t burn sticks of incense:You died as unflinchingly as you lived,With magnificent defiance.Drank wine, and joked – were still the wittiest,Choked on the stifling air.You yourself let in the terrible guest
----Anna AkhmatovaAnd stayed alone with her.Now you’re no more. And at your funeral feastWe can expect no comment from the mutesOn your high, stricken life. One voice at eastMust break that silence, like a flute.O, who would have believed that I who have been tossedOn a slow fire to smoulder, I, the buried days’Orphan and weeping mother, I who have lostEverything, and forgotten everyone, half-crazed –Would be recalling one so full of energyAnd will, and touched by that creative flame,Who only yesterday, it seems, chatted to me,Hiding the illness crucifying him.