Tonight's poem is a nod to Shakespeare, because so many of Akhmatova's other poems are so bleakly colored by the times she lived through in Stalinist Russia. This was written before all that; it's the first one in the book of Kunitz's translations of Anna Akhmatova, on page 39.
A barren patch to the right of the cememtery,
behind it a river flashing blue.
You said: "All right then, get thee to a nunnery,
or go get married to a fool . . ."
It was the sort of this that princes always say.
but these are words that one remembers.
May they flow a hundred centuries in a row
like an ermine mantle from his shoulders.
Anna Akhmatova, Kiev, 1909
The last two lines are like a blessing or a consecration. Think of something you would like to bless with a hundred-century mantle before you go to sleep tonight! And rest well.