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.
Collected Poems 2012
Translated by: Dmitri Nabokov.
Penguin Classics, London.