58952 a poem for burning

6 minutes

A small trusted circle would … memorise each other’s works and circulate them only by oral means. She tells how Akhmatova would write out her poem for a visitor on a scrap of paper to be read in a moment, then burnt in her stove. … “It was like a ritual,” Chukovskaya wrote. “Hands, matches, an ashtray. A ritual beautiful and bitter.”