Paddle boarding is supposed to be fun, but as a foreigner, and as someone who's been heavily influenced by Russian literature, whenever I see a river, I get blue. And this poem of Anna Akhmatova resounds in my mind.


Celebrate our anniversary - can’t you see

tonight the snowy night of our first winter

comes back again in every road and tree -

that winter night of diamantine splendour.


Steam is pouring out of yellow stables,

the Moika river’s sinking under snow,

the moonlight’s misted as it is in fables,

and where we are heading – I don’t know.


There are icebergs on the Marsovo Pole.

The Lebyazh’ya’s crazed with crystal art.....

Whose soul can compare with my soul,

if joy and fear are in my heart?

- And if your voice, a marvellous bird’s,

quivers at my shoulder, in the night,

and the snow shines with a silver light,

warmed by a sudden ray, by your words?