And I swear to you by the garden of the angels, I swear by the miracle-working icon, And by the fire and smoke of our nights: I will never come back to you. — Anna Akhmatova, from “You Thought I Was That Type,” The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova. (Zephyr Press; Exp Upd Su edition… Continue reading Anna Akhmatova
We think not in words but in shadows of words. — Vladimir Nabokov, Strong Opinions (McGraw-Hill, 1973)
Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be. — Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina. (Norilana Books February 16, 2008) Originally published 1873.
I am naked and a beggar and an atom in the vortex of humanity. — Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot. (Modern Library; New edition edition, April 8, 2003) Originally published 1869.
Let my heiress have full rights, Live in my house, sing songs that I composed. Yet how slowly my strength ebbs, How the tortured breast craves air. The love of my friends, my enemies’ rancor And the yellow roses in my bushy garden, And a lover’s burning tenderness—all this I bestow upon you, messenger of… Continue reading Anna Akhmatova
I can see the sun, but even if I cannot see the sun, I know that it exists. And to know that the sun is there – that is living. — Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 12th edition June 14, 2002) Originally published November 1880.
Author’s Prayer If I speak for the dead, I must leave this animal of my body, I must write the same poem over and over for the empty page is a white flag of their surrender. If I speak of them, I must walk on the edge of myself, I must live as a blind… Continue reading Ilya Kaminsky