‘I have learned how faces fall to bone’

Anna Akhmatova, ‘Requiem’, 1935-61


breathing starlight,
eating nettle,
the ancient masters surpass wonder

as their bodies crumble to dust,
they look everyone in the eye,
knowing the light in their heart
can never be darkened

as we watch our ‘faces fall to bone’,
our heads fill with prolix matter,
the ancient masters show us the way,
on a windswept mountain