Бледный огонь - читать онлайн книгу. Автор: Владимир Набоков cтр.№ 81

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Онлайн книга - Бледный огонь | Автор книги - Владимир Набоков

Cтраница 81
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Which goes on solely in the poet's mind,

A testing of performing words, while he

Is soaping a third time one leg, and B,

The other kind, much more decorous, when

He's in his study writing with a pen.

In method В the hand supports the thought,

The abstract battle is concretely fought.

The pen stops in mid-air, then swoops to bar

[850] A canceled sunset or restore a star,

And thus it physically guides the phrase

Toward faint daylight through the inky maze.

But method A is agony! The brain

Is soon enclosed in a steel cap of pain.

A muse in overalls directs the drill

Which grinds and which no effort of the will

Can interrupt, while the automaton

Is taking off what he has just put on

Or walking briskly to the corner store

[860] To buy the paper he has read before.

Why is it so? Is it, perhaps, because

In penless work there is no pen-poised pause

And one must use three hands at the same time,

Having to choose the necessary rhyme,

Hold the completed line before one's eyes,

And keep in mind all the preceding tries?

Or is the process deeper with no desk

To prop the false and hoist the poetesque?

For there are those mysterious moments when

[870] Too weary to delete, I drop my pen;

I ambulate — and by some mute command

The right word flutes and perches on my hand.

My best time is the morning; my preferred

Season, midsummer. I once overheard

Myself awakening while half of me

Still slept in bed. I tore my spirit free,

And caught up with myself — upon the lawn

Where clover leaves cupped the topaz of the dawn,

And where Shade stood in nightshirt and one shoe.

[880] And then I realized that this half too

Was fast asleep; both laughed and I awoke

Safe in my bed as day its eggshell broke,

And robins walked and stopped, and on the damp

Gemmed turf a brown shoe lay! My secret stamp,

The Shade impress, the mystery inborn.

Mirages, miracles, midsummer morn.

Since my biographer may be too staid

Or know too little to affirm that Shade

Shaved in his bath, here goes:

«He'd fixed a sort

[890] Of hinge-and-screw affair, a steel support

Running across the tub to hold in place

The shaving mirror right before his face

And with his toe renewing tap-warmth, he'd

Sit like a king there, and like Marat bleed.»

The more I weigh, the less secure my skin;

In places it's ridiculously thin;

Thus near the mouth: the space between its wick

And my grimace, invites the wicked nick.

Or this dewlap: some day I must set free

[900] The Newport Frill inveterate in me.

My Adam's apple is a prickly pear:

Now I shall speak of evil and despair

As none has spoken. Five, six, seven, eight,

Nine strokes are not enough. Ten. I palpate

Through strawberry-and-cream the gory mess

And find unchanged that patch of prickliness.

I have my doubts about the one-armed bloke

Who in commercials with one gliding stroke

Clears a smooth path of flesh from ear to chin,

[910] Then wipes his face and fondly tries his skin.

I'm in the class of fussy bimanists.

As a discreet ephebe in tights assists

A female in an acrobatic dance,

My left hand helps, and holds, and shifts its stance.

Now I shall speak… Better than any soap

Is the sensation for which poets hope

When inspiration and its icy blaze,

The sudden image, the immediate phrase

Over the skin a triple ripple send

[920] Making the little hairs all stand on end

As in the enlarged animated scheme

Of whiskers mowed when held up by Our Cream.

Now I shall speak of evil as none has

Spoken before. I loathe such things as jazz;

The white-hosed moron torturing a black

Bull, rayed with red; abstractist bric-a-brac;

Primitivist folk-masks; progressive schools;

Music in supermarkets; swimming pools;

Brutes, bores, class-conscious Philistines, Freud, Marx,

[930] Fake thinkers, puffed-up poets, frauds and sharks.

And while the safety blade with scrape and screak

Travels across the country of my cheek,

Cars on the highway pass, and up the steep

Incline big trucks around my jawbone creep,

And now a silent liner docks, and now

Sunglassers tour Beirut, and now I plough

Old Zembla's fields where my gray stubble grows,

And slaves make hay between my mouth and nose.

Man's life as commentary to abstruse

[940] Unfinished poem. Note for further use.

Dressing in all the rooms, I rhyme and roam

Throughout the house with, in my fist, a comb

Or a shoehorn, which turns into the spoon

I eat my egg with. In the afternoon

You drive me to the library. We dine

At half past six. And that odd muse of mine,

My versipel, is with me everywhere,

In carrel and in car, and in my chair.

And all the time, and all the time, my love,

[950] You too are there, beneath the word, above

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