A Forbidden Cento Stolen from a Nabakov Notebook Dream of Lolita in the Field of Life
The air around her is filled with butterflies. They blow across her face. Their wings touch her eyes. Their antennae quiver her lashes.
Wherever she looks- kaleidoscopic flight. Multicolored clouds above and behind, Sweeping to escape each blind footfall.
One alights, exhausted and fluttering, Moving its wings upon a damaged hinge, Near enough to cup in palms.
“What a twisting turning thing,” she thinks, Locking this summer vision in her mind’s prison, As she witness its last difficult breaths. It takes so long to die.
Prison and prisoner, poet and poem— Poem that will never be, because taboo Must breed a book of forbidden desires, Playing out among butterflies in life’s field.
“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip Of the tongue taking a trip of three
Steps down the palate to tap, at three, On the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. She was Lo, Plain Lo, in the morning…”
Vladimir Nabakov who wrote the scandalous novel Lolita (about an older man and the child he loves carnally in his heart but platonically in action) was an amateur lepidopterist. The last two stanzas are from the opening paragraph of Lolita.