“Thus, for an hour or two, facing the fire,
I sit, I fit together rhymes,
having forgotten Violet –
and lo, like music from the heavens,
there peals the modulation of evening bells.
“. . . in that townlet in the towers’ shadow
the sound of life was reckless clatter,
the mixture of tipsy antiquity
and of the present liveliness
were healthful for me: my soul’s ready
to relish everything beneath the moon,
the ancient and the new.
But I am in disaccord with the moon’s glow,
I try to avoid melancholy …
Oh keep me, Lord, from being a poet,
the earthly foolishly to miss!”
From Valdimir Nabokov’s “The University Poem,” translated by Dimitri Nabakov, at The London Review of Books‘ website.