My love for you was the throbbing, welling warmth of tears. That is how I imagined paradise: silence and tears, and the warm silk of your knees. This you could not comprehend. — Vladimir Nabokov, Beneficence (Stories of Vladimir Nabokov) Knopf 24 October 1995.
If you have no more happiness to give: Give me your pain. ― Lou Andreas-Salomé
Killing myself was a matter of such indifference to me that I felt like waiting for a moment when it would make some difference. ― Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man (Kessinger Publishing, LLC, June 17, 2004) Originally published 1877.
…my Lolita remarked: “You know, what’s so dreadful about dying is that you are completely on your own”; and it struck me, as my automaton knees went up and down, that I simply did not know a thing about my darling’s mind and that quite possibly, behind the awful juvenile cliches, there was in her… Continue reading Vladimir Nabokov
And the stone word fellOn my still-living breast.Never mind, I was ready.I will manage somehow. Today I have so much to do:I must kill memory once and for all,I must turn my soul to stone,I must learn to live again— Unless … Summer’s ardent rustlingIs like a festival outside my window.For a long time I’ve… Continue reading Anna Akhmatova
More and more often, I’m wondering-Why shouldn’t I placeThe period of a bullet at the end of my stanza?Today,Just in case,I am giving my final, farewell concert. —Vladimir Mayakovsky, from “The Backbone Flute: Prologue.” Backbone Flute: Selected Poetry . Translated by Andrey Kneller. (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform April 18, 2008)
If you want,I’ll go meat-mad– and, like the sky, its hues changing –If you want,I’ll be irreproachably tender,not a man, but – a cloud in trousers! —Vladimir Mayakovsky, from “A Cloud in Trousers,” Night Wraps the Sky: Writings by and about Mayakovsky. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition – First Printing edition April 1, 2008)… Continue reading Vladimir Mayakovsky
Listen,if stars are litit means – there is someone who needs it.It means – someone wants them to be,that someone deems those specks of spitmagnificent. — Vladimir Mayakovsky, from “Listen!,” Listen! Early Poems. (City Lights Publishers; 1st City Lights Books ed edition January 1, 2001) Originally published 1987.
In the storehouse of my memory areYour words, your smiles and gestures. — Anna Akhmatova, from “Uncollected Poems and Fragments,” The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova, transl. Judith Hemschemeyer, ed. Roberta Reeder (Zephyr Press, 1997)
In spite of everything I loved you, and will go on loving you – on my knees, with my shoulders drawn back, showing my heels to the headsman and straining my goose neck – even then. And afterwards – perhaps most of all afterwards – I shall love you, and one day we shall have… Continue reading Vladamir Nabokov