Archive for the ‘Nabokov, Vladimir’ Category

Vladimir Nabokov’s Lilith, translated by R J Dent

June 26, 2016

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Lilith

 

I died. The sycamores gave shade;

shutters were shut upon the dust

of the hot streets steamily teased

by the torrid Aeolus.

 

I slowly walked, and the fauns walked;

It seemed as though I recognised

the great god Pan in every faun.

Good. I must be in Paradise.

 

Shielding her face against the sun,

there stood a naked, slender girl;

her honeyed skin attracted me;

lilies were threaded in her curls.

 

She had the grace of a woman.

I watched her small nipples harden

and I recalled a sweet springtime

in another new-grown garden,

 

when through the trees by the river,

I had one time watched, emboldened,

the miller’s youngest daughter step

out of the water, lithe, golden,

 

with a damp wisp between her legs.

And now, still wearing the coat

I had on when murdered last night,

with a rake’s predatory gloat,

 

I advanced upon my Lilith.

She stared at me with her green eyes,

until my clothes burst into flame

and burnt to ashes in a trice.

 

In the room behind her I saw

a Greek divan, a spread-out shawl,

a table, pomegranates, wine;

some erotic art covering the wall.

 

With two fingers she shamelessly

took hold of my hot member’s head

with unselfconscious, childish glee.

“Now come along with me,” she said.

 

Without inducement or effort,

but slowly to extend delight,

like wings, she gradually opened

her soft sweet brown thighs to my sight.

 

How enticing, how inviting,

her moist pink rose! And with a wild

cry, she fell on my throbbing length,

slicker than that remembered child.

 

Snake in snake, vessel in vessel,

smooth-fitting parts, I moved in her

through ascending rhythms, feeling

unendurable pleasure stir.

 

But suddenly she flinched, and pushed

me off her, moved fast, stood over

me, grasped the shawl and twisted it

around her waist and up, covered

 

and strong again; with me about

to come, to spend, for me, nothing

left. A strange wind made me stagger.

I ran to the door. “Let me in!”

 

I shouted, noticing with horror,

that I stood outside in the dust

where loudly-yelling youngsters

were staring at my engorged lust.

 

“Let me come in!” And the goat-hoofed

crowd increased. “Quick, let me come in!”

“I am about to come…” I yelled.

 

The door stayed shut, the crowd watched, quiet,

as I spurted out my semen.

I knew then that I was in hell.

 

 

 

Lilith

by Vladimir Nabokov

 

Young-Nabokov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translated into English by R J Dent

Copyright © R J Dent (2016)

 

 

 

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