Toska: sonnet approaching nocturne

“No single word in English renders all the shades of toska

At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness.”

– Vladimir Nabokov

Transitory lightbeams on windows,
arranged in prisms on hardwood floors,
illuminate the room’s diagonal shadows
that cannot escape through the open door.
Offwhite walls, flickering in the dusk,
show silhouettes of leaves that fall
outside, tracing the notes of a rust-
colored crescendo echoing in the empty hall.
Light leaves the stardust sky
and dodges the dusty room
and his pale blue eyes
that wax and wane like a harvest moon.
Somewhere there is a beautiful melody
that blooms with green springing memories

Lonely House

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