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POETRY: Anna Akhmatova

Portrait of Anna Akhmatova
by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin [1922]
THE DEATH OF SOPHOCLES
Then the king learnt that Sophocles was dead (LEGEND)

To Sophocles' house that night an eagle flew down
      from the sky
And sombrely rang from the garden cicadas' choir.
At that hour the genius was passing into immortality,
Skirting, at the walls of his native town, the night-fires
Of the enemy. And this was when the king had a 
      strange dream:
Dionysus himself ordered the raising of the siege,
That no noise disturb the Athenians in burying him
With fitting ceremony and with elegies.

1961  



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