‘when at night i wait for her to come…’
I wish I were articulate enough to talk about Akhmatova and the Muse. In all that I have read of hers, the Muse seems to be the female figure of the most importance, and who appears the most often.
I have so many thoughts about her devotion to this female figure, the praise she gives to her, and how nice (refreshing, nourishing, comforting) it is to read. I say ‘her’ rather than ‘it’ because as in poems such as Muse of 1924 and sections of Part II of A Poem Without a Hero (verses XX-XXIV, specifically) the Muse is a figure so alive. I love seeing the way that female writers interact with other women – spiritually, intellectually, emotionally – for so often when we direct our work towards a you it is towards someone of the opposite sex. It’s a breath of fresh air to have Akhmatova step outside that, redirect her gaze and her words, so that there is something of her work just ‘between women’ (I feel the very same way about Tsvetaeva’s poems to her, which when I discovered them seemed too good to be true). And I think the way that Akhmatova writes to or of the Muse (‘what is glory, youth, freedom, in comparison/with the dear welcome guest…’) is the closest I might ever get, in her work, to an equivalent for women of the romantic way in which she addresses male subjects, so I must be grateful for it.