I found a lengthy word with a non-Russian ending,
unwittingly, inside a children’s storybook,
and turned away from it with a strange kind of shudder.
That word contained the writhing of mysterious passions:
The growls, the howls, the whistles and the senseless visions,
assassinated horses’ vitreous eyes,
the sinuous streets, the evil-auguring constructions,
a man, incarnadine, prostrate upon his back,
the bestial motions of somebody’s avid hands!
And, once upon a time, how sweet I used to find it
to read of funny rabbits who would dance in spring
with guinea pigs on stumps beneath the moon.
But now the fateful word above my childhood tales,
stormlike, has rushed! Gone is their old simplicity;
and terrifying thoughts, during the doomful nights,
now crepitate like gray newspaper sheets.
—Translated by Dmitri Nabokov