Szirtes prefaced the poem:
Here is Anna Akhmatova from Tashkent, thinking of St Petersburg via Dante. My translation:
Il mio San Giovanni
Even after his death he kept well clear
Of the ancient Florence of his exiling.
It is for the man who did not reappear
Or once look back that now this song I sing.
Torchlight, darkness, a last embrace, then gone,
Past city limits to grim squawks of fate.
From hell he saw her and piled curses on,
But still recalled her, once through heaven’s gate,
Where barefoot, hair-shirted and lovesick,
He did not walk the perfidious and low
Streets of Florence carrying a candlestick,
Pining for the city where he could not go.