I died. Aeolus beat upon
The trees and shutters, full of heat.
I walked on down the dusty street
with fauns beside me. In each faun,
I made out Pan. I contemplated:
“This must be heaven, I have made it...”
From sunlight hiding, shinning softly
with russet armpits, standing bare,
a girl was looking from the doorway
with water-lilies in her hair.
She stood up - slender, womanly,
her nipples - rosy, I recalled
one day in spring, still of this world,
I sat behind the alder-tree
observing closely, all perplexed,
the town miller’s younger daughter, -
as she emerged out of the water,
a beard was drying in her legs.
And now, in yesterday’s attire,
the coat I wore when I was killed,
I, with a playboy’s lustful smile,
walked to my Lilith downhill.
Over her shoulder with a distant
green eye, she cast her gaze on me,-
my clothes caught fire in an instant
and turned to ash. And I could see
a shaggy Greek divan nearby,
and pomegranates, and the wine,
and frescoes painted on the wall.
With two cold fingers, lacking shame,
the child took me by the flame:
“Come over here,” - she softly called.
Without effort or compulsion,
but slowly to extend delight,
she spread, like wings in just one motion,
her knees right there before my sight.
With those seductive merry eyes,
her face, thrown back, appeared so ardent,
when with a frenzied bang of thighs
I broke into the unforgotten.
Snake in a snake, vessel in vessel,
inside of her, I started sliding
and in me, wondrous bliss was nestled
and it was growing and abiding -
when, suddenly she pushed away,
ran back and closed her legs in haste,
picked up some veil on the way
and put it up around her waist
and full of strength, stuck in-between,
so close to pleasure, - I, dismaying,
rushed toward her and started swaying
from strangest winds. “Oh, let me in,” -
I yelled to her and grew aware
that I was on the street once more
and nasty bleating children there
were staring at my mace in awe.
“Oh, let me in,” - and there amassed
Goat-legged crowds. “Do it fast
or I’ll go crazy!” I still yelled.
The door was silent. Pained and beaten,
before them all, I spilled my semen
and understood, I was in hell.
By Vladimir Nabokov
Translation by Andrey Kneller