NABOKV-L post 0024184, Tue, 7 May 2013 13:41:41 +0000

Re: Responses from Mary re: cat and muscat

Mary Efremov wrote: "muscat grape refers to the smelly seed of the gingko, shed in November"

Mary, as I read the poem, Shade is describing the color-the particular golden hue-to which ginkgo leaves turn in fall, and this color is akin to the color of ripe muscat grapes. Here's a bunch: If one just removes the phrase "when shed" the line becomes more intelligible. As to the overall meaning, I would paraphrase it this way: The ginkgo leaf, whose leaves in fall are similar in color to ripe muscat grapes, has a shape that reminds one of poorly spread butterflies in obsolete illustrations. By itself, this stanza, as poetry, doesn't seem to mean much, but we must remember that it is but one stanza from a larger poem that we do not have before us. And of course the relationship to the Goethe poem and the idea of double consciousness is likely important indeed.

Matt Roth

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