Friday, July 10, 2009

smoke bush by the boathouse


Kenmeer livermaile said...

For you, because you like pretty things and post uncommonly pretty photos, a copy of my favorite poem by V. Nabokov, who wrote poetry that rhymed and scanned and yet evoked as lyrically as any free verse:

Esmeralda! now we rest
Here, in the bewitched and blest
Mountain forests of the West.

Here the very air is stranger.
Damsel, anchorite, and ranger
Share the woodland’s dream and danger.

And to think I deemed you dead!
(In a dungeon, it was said;
Tortured, strangled); but instead –

Blue birds from the bluest fable,
Bear and hare in coats of sable,
Peacock moth on picnic table.

Huddled roadsigns softly speak
Of Lake Merlin, Castle Creek,
And (obliterated) Peak.

Do you recognize that clover?
Dandelions, l’or du pauvre?
(Europe, nonetheless, is over).

Up the tuck, along the burn
Latin lilies climb and turn
Into Gothic fir and fern.

Cornfields have befouled the prairies
But these canyons laugh! And there is
Still the forest with its fairies.

And I rest where I awoke
In the sea shade – l’ombre glauque –
Of a legendary oak;

Where the woods get ever dimmer,
Where the Phantom Orchids glimmer –
Esmeralda, immer, immer.

I haven't seen that poem since my late 20s. The internet is a beautiful thing.


served in the pan, usually on a table in the round for many to eat from at once

Kenmeer livermaile said...

BTW, these suddenly dark lines:

And to think I deemed you dead!
(In a dungeon, it was said;
Tortured, strangled); but instead –

refer to Nabokov's beloved natal Russia, which he fled around the revolution, and felt he'd found again in certain wetter parts of northern USA.


of singular essence

amarilla said...

Lovely poem. I don't usually like rhyme much (there was a run where every children's book published had to rhyme and it got really sickening.)

"Blue birds from the bluest fable." What is the bluest fable?

"Up the tuck, along the burn"
Fabulous, I often wonder why landscape poetry is the best thing in the world.

Kenmeer livermaile said...

"What is the bluest fable?"

Funny you should ask. While a probable answer means that Nabokov was alluding to his rather fairytale childhood as son of wealthy Russian nobles, both of whom were also enlightened liberals working to reform Russian politics into something humane, your question echoes the ending to one of my fave Nabokov tales, A Russian Beauty, which ends with these lines (paraphrased from memory):

Like that old Russian fairy tale in which the king asks, "Which arrow flies the farthest?"

The one that hits its mark.


in stead of

amarilla said...

Kenmeer, if you're out there, what does lyricism mean to you?

Kenmeer livermaile said...

Lyricism: good question. The nature of that word's intended definition leaves it wide open. To me it means something in art or emotion that does more of what melody does in music than harmony.

It is the skylark winging across the sky, not the cloudbank behind it.

But, to clarify, a lyrical passage of prose can evoke that cloudbank lyrically by contrasting it against the wee birdie flying before it.

It evokes via clarion nuance rather than gentle shading.


Antique word for saltbox.

Kenmeer livermaile said...

That was fun.


subtle phonetic euphemism for F-ing.