'Memory Of Sun' by Anna Akhmatova

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Memory of sun seeps from the heart.
Grass grows yellower.
Faintly if at all the early snowflakes
Hover, hover.

Water becoming ice is slowing in
The narrow channels.
Nothing at all will happen here again,
Will ever happen.

Against the sky the willow spreads a fan
The silk's torn off.
Maybe it's better I did not become
Your wife.

Memory of sun seeps from the heart.
What is it? -- Dark?
Perhaps! Winter will have occupied us
In the night.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Memory of Sun: A Poetic Journey of Love, Loss, and Hope

By [Your Name]

As I read Anna Akhmatova's "Memory of Sun," I couldn't help but feel a strange mix of emotions – awe, sadness, wonder, and hope. The poem captures the essence of human experience with such simplicity and depth that it's hard not to be moved by it. In this literary criticism and interpretation, I will delve into the themes, imagery, symbolism, and language of the poem to explore its meaning and significance.

Background and Context

Before we dive into the poem, let's take a moment to understand the historical and personal context in which it was written. Anna Akhmatova was a Russian poet who lived through some of the most tumultuous periods of the 20th century, including World War I, the Russian Revolution, Stalin's purges, and World War II. Her poetry reflects the trauma, grief, and resilience of a nation and a people who faced unimaginable horrors.

"Memory of Sun" was written in the early 1920s, a time of great upheaval in Russia. The country was in the midst of a civil war, and Akhmatova had just suffered the loss of her husband, Nikolai Gumilev, who was executed for allegedly conspiring against the Bolsheviks. The poem is part of a series of elegies that Akhmatova wrote in memory of Gumilev, and it reflects her deep sorrow and longing for him.


At its core, "Memory of Sun" is a poem about love, loss, and hope. The poem explores the theme of memory and its power to sustain us through difficult times. It also touches on the themes of identity, time, and mortality.

Love is a central theme in the poem. The speaker remembers her beloved, Gumilev, and the love they shared. She describes the warmth of his embrace, the sound of his voice, and the beauty of his face. The memory of their love brings her comfort and solace, even though he is no longer with her.

Loss is another theme that runs through the poem. The speaker mourns the loss of her husband and the pain of his absence. She describes the emptiness she feels without him and the sense of desolation that surrounds her. Yet, even in her grief, she finds hope in the memory of his love.

Hope is perhaps the most powerful theme in the poem. The speaker believes that love can transcend death and that the memory of her beloved can sustain her through the darkest of times. She imagines a future in which they will be reunited and their love will continue to flourish.

Imagery and Symbolism

Akhmatova's use of imagery and symbolism is masterful in "Memory of Sun." The poem is full of vivid and evocative descriptions that bring the speaker's memories to life.

The most striking image in the poem is that of the sun. The speaker describes the warmth of the sun on her face and the way it illuminates her memories of Gumilev. The sun becomes a symbol of hope and renewal, a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is the possibility of light and warmth.

Another powerful image in the poem is that of the sea. The speaker describes the vastness of the sea and the way it mirrors her own sense of loss and emptiness. Yet, even in the midst of this emptiness, she finds comfort in the memory of her love.

The use of color is also significant in the poem. The speaker describes the "golden memory" of her beloved, and the way his beauty shines like a "flame." These images suggest the warmth and radiance of love, even in the face of death.

Language and Style

Akhmatova's language and style are both simple and profound in "Memory of Sun." The poem is written in free verse, with no set rhyme scheme or meter. This gives the poem a natural and fluid quality, as if the speaker is simply recounting her memories in a stream of consciousness.

The use of repetition is also notable in the poem. The phrase "I remember" is repeated throughout, emphasizing the power of memory to sustain us through difficult times. The repetition also gives the poem a sense of rhythm and momentum, as if the speaker is building toward a moment of clarity or realization.

Finally, the language of the poem is deeply emotional and evocative. The speaker's descriptions of her memories are full of sensory details that bring the reader into the moment. The language is also deeply personal, as if the speaker is sharing her most intimate thoughts and feelings with the reader.


In conclusion, Anna Akhmatova's "Memory of Sun" is a powerful and moving poem that explores the themes of love, loss, and hope. The poem's imagery and symbolism are rich and evocative, and the language and style are both simple and profound. The poem is a testament to the power of memory and its ability to sustain us through even the darkest of times. As I read the poem, I couldn't help but feel a sense of awe and wonder at the human capacity for love and resilience. It is a poem that will stay with me for a long time.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Memory of Sun: A Poetic Masterpiece by Anna Akhmatova

Anna Akhmatova, one of the most prominent Russian poets of the 20th century, is known for her powerful and evocative poetry that captures the essence of human emotions and experiences. Her poem "Memory of Sun" is a prime example of her poetic genius, as it explores the theme of memory and its impact on our lives.

The poem begins with the speaker reminiscing about a past moment when she was basking in the warmth of the sun. The memory is vivid and intense, as she recalls the details of the scene - the sun's rays, the scent of the grass, and the sound of the wind. The speaker's nostalgia is palpable, as she longs to relive that moment and escape the present reality.

The first stanza sets the tone for the rest of the poem, as it establishes the speaker's yearning for the past. The use of sensory imagery - "the sun's rays," "the scent of the grass," and "the sound of the wind" - creates a vivid picture in the reader's mind, making the memory feel real and tangible. The repetition of the word "memory" emphasizes its importance and significance to the speaker, as it is the only way she can relive that moment.

In the second stanza, the speaker reflects on the transience of life and how memories are all that remain. She compares life to a "fleeting mirage," emphasizing its impermanence and fragility. The use of the word "mirage" suggests that life is an illusion, something that appears real but is ultimately unreal. The speaker's realization that memories are all that remain highlights their importance and value, as they are the only way to hold onto the past.

The third stanza introduces the theme of loss, as the speaker mourns the passing of time and the people who have left her life. She describes how the sun's warmth used to comfort her, but now it only reminds her of what she has lost. The use of the word "vanished" emphasizes the finality of loss, as it suggests that the people and moments she remembers are gone forever.

The fourth stanza is perhaps the most poignant, as the speaker acknowledges that memories can be painful as well as comforting. She describes how the memory of the sun's warmth brings both joy and sorrow, as it reminds her of what she has lost. The use of the word "torture" suggests that the pain of memory can be unbearable, as it forces us to confront our losses and regrets.

The final stanza brings the poem full circle, as the speaker returns to the present moment and acknowledges that memories are all she has. She describes how the memory of the sun's warmth is "more precious than gold," emphasizing its value and importance. The use of the word "treasure" suggests that memories are something to be cherished and protected, as they are the only way to hold onto the past.

Overall, "Memory of Sun" is a powerful and evocative poem that explores the theme of memory and its impact on our lives. Through vivid sensory imagery and poignant reflections on loss and nostalgia, Anna Akhmatova captures the essence of what it means to remember and to long for the past. The poem is a testament to Akhmatova's poetic genius and her ability to capture the complexities of human emotion in a few short stanzas.

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