Sunday, 23 June 2013

The art of light polution... The roar of tyrants torn in hell

The dead, the gentle dead – who knows? –
In tungsten filaments abide,
 And on my bedside table glows
 Another man’s departed bride.

And maybe Shakespeare floods a whole
 Town with innumerable lights,
 And Shelley’s incandescent soul
 Lures the pale moths of starless nights.

Streetlamps are numbered, and maybe
 Number nine-hundred-ninety-nine
 (So brightly beaming through a tree
 So green) is an old friend of mine.

And when above the livid plain
 Forked lightning plays, therein may dwell
 The torments of a Tamerlane,
 The roar of tyrants torn in hell.

Poem by “John Shade” in Vladimir Nabokov‘s novel Pale Fire (1962)


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