The Return by Anna Akhmatova

The souls of all my dears have flown to the stars.
Thank God there’s no one left for me to lose–so I am free to cry.

This air is made for the echoing of songs.

A silver willow by the shore trails to the bright September waters.

My shadow, risen from the past, glides silently towards me.

Though the branches here are hung with many lyres, a place has been reserved for mine, it seems.

And now this shower, struck by sunlight,
brings me good news, my cup of consolation.

(Translated by Stanley Kunitz with Max Hayward)

Left: Caroline Kerjean, Anna Akhmatova, sketch, 2021.

She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron

(Homage to Rachel Maddow)

She walks in beauty like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that's best of dark and bright

Meets in her aspect and her eyes:

Thus mellow'd to that tender light

Which heaven to gaudy day denies...

Right: Caroline Kerjean, She Walks in Beauty (detail), oil and graphite on wood panel, 2024