NABOKV-L post 0010685, Thu, 2 Dec 2004 10:24:29 -0800

Re: Fwd: Re: Krivulin poem re Nabokov. Translation
----- Forwarded message from -----
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 2004 19:36:39 +0300
From: alex <>

Thank you, Jeff Edmunds, for your translation and for providing a link to the
complete version of this poem. I found it on a different web page
( where the poem was published
without the four last lines.
The poem's strange title apparently needs a short commentary. "Mgnove" is a
truncated (and nonexisting) form of "mgnovenie," a moment, and the whole title
plays on the first line of Pushkin's famous poem "Ya pomnyu chudnoe mgnoven'ye"
(I remember a wondrous moment)addressed to Anna Kern (who was to become
Pushkin's mistress a couple of years after he had written that poem). That's
why "mgnove" is compared to a fragment of some antique statue in lines 3-4.
I think the translation is marvelous, but I would like to correct one little
mistake. The author of the poem doesn't want Nabokov to conceal the genital
organ (of the statue) with metaphysical delight, he wants him to explain why it
is concealed. Also, styd i sram (the phrase occurs in ADA, ch. 38) means simply

Krivulin has also a poem entitled Chetvyortaya Sestra ("The Fourth Sister") that
might have been inspired (and might be not) by Chekhov's well-known play "The
Four Sisters" (again, see ADA).

----- Original Message -----
From: Donald B. Johnson
Sent: Thursday, December 02, 2004 3:36 AM
Subject: Fwd: Re: Krivulin poem re Nabokov. Translation

EDNOTE. With thanks to Jeff Edmunds on ZEMBLA's Birthday.

From Jeff Edmunds <>:

The version of this poem that reached me via the list was both garbled and
truncated, perhaps as a result of the encoding. The apparently complete
version is available at

about two-thirds of the way down the page.

Below is an English version, composed hastily and immediately
postprandially. It is whimsical, ugly, unrhymed, and probably wrong in at
least three ways. My apologies to Viktor Krivulin.

Marvelous Moment

Why did you, marvelous moment,
Get stuck in my head
Like a fragment from the naughty bits
Of some antique statue?

Let Nabokov explain
The meaning of Russian diffidence and
Shame, and conceal the genital organ
With metaphysical delight
As with a wisp of cloth --

Why? What for and from whom?
Harmony is deity
On line, connected to us
So that we don't see, but we know,
There is something there, where there is nothing

----- End forwarded message -----