четверг, ноября 16, 2006

Ask me what I can do,

not what I do, lovely girl,
lovely wake of the sun
through semitransparent black fabric.
I can commit to memory
a whole page of the directory
in three minutes flat
but am incapable of remembering
my own telephone number.
I can compose patches of poetry
as strange and new as you are,
or as anything a person may write
three hundred years hence,
but I have never published one scrap of verse
except some juvenile nonsense at college.
I have evolved on the playing courts
of my father's school
a devastating return of service -
a cut clinging drive -
but am out of breath after one game.
Using ink and aquarelle
I can paint a lakescape of unsurpassed translucence
with all the mountains of paradise reflected therein,
but am unable to draw a boat or a bridge
or the silhouette of human panic
in the blazing windows of a villa by Plam.
I have taught French in American schools
but have never been able
to get rid of my mother's Canadian accent,
though I hear it clearly when I whisper French words.
Ouvre ta robe, Déjanire
that I may mount sur mon bücher.
I can levitate one inch high
and keep it up for ten seconds,
but cannot climb an apple tree.
I possess a doctor's degree in philosophy,
but have no German.
I have fallen in love with you
but shall do nothing about it.
In short I am an all-round genius.

Vladimir Nabokov
"Transparent things"

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