1. Lot’s Wife

    And the just man trailed God’s shining agent,
    over a black mountain, in his giant track,
    while a restless voice kept harrying his woman:
    “It’s not too late, you can still look back

    at the red towers of your native Sodom,
    the square where once you sang, the spinning-shed,
    at the empty windows set in the tall house
    where sons and daughters blessed your marriage-bed.”

    A single glance: a sudden dart of pain
    stitching her eyes before she made a sound …
    Her body flaked into transparent salt,
    and her swift legs rooted to the ground.

    Who will grieve for this woman? Does she not seem
    too insignificant for our concern?
    Yet in my heart I never will deny her,
    who suffered death because she chose to turn.

    by Anna Akhmatova
    translated by Max Hayward and Stanley Kunitz

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