Vladimir Nabokov: In Paradise





A poem particularly lovely because I’m almost certain that Nabokov must have noted such thoughts, in his journal about someone he loved, well before they became a poem.


In Paradise


My soul, beyond distant death

your image I see like this:

a provincial naturalist,

an eccentric lost in paradise.


There, in a glade, a wild angel slumbers,

a semi-pavonian creature.

Poke at it curiously

with your green umbrella,


speculating how, first of all,

you will write a paper on it

then — But there are no learned journals,

nor any readers in paradise!


And there you stand, not yet believing

your wordless woe.

About that blue somnolent animal

whom will you tell, whom?


Where is the world and the labeled roses,

the museum and the stuffed birds?

And you look and look through your tears

at those unnamable wings.




– Vladimir Nabokov, from Collected Poems (2012), translated by Dmitri Nabokov, published by Penguin Classics, London.







Filed under Poetry turnstile

3 responses to “Vladimir Nabokov: In Paradise

  1. Stick Insect

    Hey really proud of you Julie. Well done. Here’s a poem from Baudelaire for ya.

    Je t’adore à l’égal de la voûte nocturne,
    Ô vase de tristesse, ô grande taciturne,
    Et t’aime d’autant plus, belle, que tu me fuis,
    Et que tu me parais, ornement de mes nuits,
    Plus ironiquement accumuler les lieues
    Qui séparent mes bras des immensités bleues.

    Je m’avance à l’attaque, et je grimpe aux assauts,
    Comme après un cadavre un choeur de vermisseaux,
    Et je chéris, ô bête implacable et cruelle!
    Jusqu’à cette froideur par où tu m’es plus belle!

  2. Pingback: Catching Up on the Postacrds |

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