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.
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
But what can be done, the one who loves must share the fate of the one he loves. — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita. (Vintage March 19, 1996) Originally published 1966.