Nabokov on a Yellow Post-It (c)

I found a square of paper

A golden-yellow Rhombus

The sticky quadrilateral

The blank parallelogram

Calling to be filled. A Post-It

Like a bright-yellow net for

The stray thought that flutters by

The ink-blue butterfly trapped

Between right angels


Nabokov loved butterflies

Perhaps more than he did words

He spilled more ink recording

The subtle variegations

The micro-changes in coloration

Of a butterfly’s wings, denoting

Their migration, than composing

Prose, and fictions


When I was a boy I was told not

To touch a butterfly, a slight touch

Would brush the “magic” powder

From their wings, without which

They could not fly

A butterfly is pixie-like; floating, flying

Gravity defying


With a sprinkle of pixie dust (and a laugh)

The heroine Wendy took flight

Going to war with a pirate

Whose only fear was time

Old Hook panicked at the tick-tock

Turning of the hands of a clock

Wendy flew and she fought

For the pipe-playing-boy-god (she loved)

Laughing, and soaring with a Titan named Pan


All butterflies bear the image of Pan

The horned God dancing in the wind

Pan is the God of wild places

God of loneliness, madness, and desire


All boys are taught to temper those traits

Or they get lost in their inner child


Nabokov loved butterflies, the chrysalis

Loved beauty emerging from

The metamorphosis of a worm

He loved the tragedian, the anti-hero

He loved the tragedy itself

A destroyer of tyrants, of self

Give him the subversion

Of aged-corruption, and the morass

Of a wild youth, caught in his pages

The fragile nature of longing, like

The butterfly, once acquired

Lives but a few moments

And then expires


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