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A Gas Butterfly

Innokenty Fedorovich Annensky 1855 (Omsk) – 1909 (St Petersburg)

Tell me what's happening to me?
Why is my heart beating so fervently?
why has this madness, like a wave,
Broken through the rock of habit?

Is it my strength or just my torment
I'm too disturbed to tell:
From the shimmering lines of life
I extract a forgotten phrase...

Is it a thief who turns his lantern
Upon the crowd of dreary letters?
I can't help reading the phrase,
But haven't the strength to go back...

It really had to flare up,
But it only harries the darkness;
All night, like a gas-flame butterfly
It trembles, but cannot escape...

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

31 sec read
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Innokenty Fedorovich Annensky

Innokentiy Fyodorovich Annensky (Russian: Инноке́нтий Фёдорович А́нненский) was a poet, critic and translator, representative of the first wave of Russian Symbolism. Sometimes cited as a Slavic counterpart to the poètes maudits, Annensky managed to render into Russian the essential intonations of Baudelaire and Verlaine, while the subtle music, ominous allusions, arcane vocabulary, the spell of minutely changing colours and odours were all his own. His influence on the first post-Symbolist generation of poets (Akhmatova, Gumilyov, Mandelshtam) was paramount. more…

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