Monday, October 10, 2011

"On Discovering a Butterfly"

"On Discovering a Butterfly"
by Vladimir Nabokov

I found it and I named it, being versed
in taxonomic Latin; thus became
godfather to an insect and its first
describer – and I want no other fame.

Wide open on its pin (though fast asleep),
and safe from creeping relatives and rust,
in the secluded stronghold where we keep
type specimens it will transcend its dust.

Dark pictures, thrones, the stones that pilgrims kiss,
poems that take a thousand years to die
but ape the immortality of this
red label on a little butterfly.

“A Discovery” (December 1941); 
published as “On Discovering a Butterfly” in The New Yorker (15 May 1943)
"Hand Crochet Alpaca Butterflies" by Oeuf

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