Let us compare a literal translation and Kunitz’s translation:
Podrazhanie Armianskomu Ia prisnius’ tebe chernoi ovtsoiu Na netverdykh, sukhikh nogakh, Podoiudu, zableiu, zavoiu: “Sladko l’uzhinal, padishakh? Ty vselennuiu derzhish’, kak busu, Svetloi volei Allakha khranim…. I prishelsia l’synok moi po vkusu I tebe i detkam tvoim?” You will dream me as a black ewe On unsteady, withered legs, I will come up, I will bleat, I will moan: “Did you sweetly dine, Padishah? You hold the universe like a bead, Protected by the radiant will of Allah…. And did my son suit the taste of you and your babies?” —Akhmatova (literal translation) In the form of a black ewe my ghost will straggle through your dreams on faltering, withered legs, bleating: “Shah of the Shahs, blessed in Allah’s eyes, how well did you feast? You hold the world in your hand as if it were a cold bright bead…. But what about my boy, did you enjoy his taste?” —Kunitz
The first question—What happened to the rhymes?—we will leave unanswered.