Friday, April 29, 2016

O most noble Greenness

The buds of a May-Day Tree (known as a "bird cherry" or черемуха in Slavic countries)

O most noble Greenness, rooted in the sun,
shining forth in streaming splendor upon the wheel of Earth.
No earthly sense or being can comprehend you.
You are encircled by the very arms of Divine mysteries.
You are radiant like the red of dawn!
You glow like the incandescence of the sun!

--Hildegard of Bingen

Saturday, April 09, 2016


A dried flower, unscented,
Forgotten, in a book I see,
And already my soul
is filled with a strange dream.

--A.S. Pushkin

Цветок засохший, безуханный,
Забытый в книге вижу я;
И вот уже мечтою странной
Душа наполнилась моя.

А.С. Пушкин

Last night, I dreamed I rode a bicycle with two small children wedged in between myself and the handlebars. When I parked the bicycle, I found that I had arrived in one of Moscow's central city squares, near a metro station, where many street vendors were plying their wares. I approached a woman selling currant buns, thinking to buy some for the children, but when I opened up my wallet, all I could find were Chinese coins. I laughed awkwardly, and apologized to her. What struck me most about this dream was a rushing sense of exhilaration, the fact that the energy of the very cobblestones greeted me warmly. (On a side-note, it is difficult for me to spend a long period of time in most cities. There must be some aspect peculiar to the ancient ones, which allows my nervous system to relax in the midst of the bustle.) Perhaps just a silly dream, but it caused me to wonder, yet again, who I am, and what am I all about.

I found an unusual recording of the Vaganova ballet school, which performs a very old-fashioned version of the Awakening of Flora here:

The willow-catkins and I eagerly await the arrival of Flora to the North.

Where did it flower? When, in which spring?
Did it flower long? And was it plucked by whom,
A stranger or an acquainted hand?
And why was it placed in here?

--A.S. Pushkin

Где цвел? когда? какой весною?
И долго ль цвел? и сорван кем,
Чужой, знакомой ли рукою?
И положен сюда зачем?

А.С. Пушкин

Monday, April 04, 2016



These four walls compose the grace of still life:
a boy nuzzling a gray tabby cat,
a chair, favorite books, a piano,
the translucent leaf of an angel-wing begonia.

They do not account for the flighty senses
that swoop from skin to branch to sky like larks,
nor do they speak of the wildest delights,
those un-fathomed as the call of the sea.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

a birch tree in winter

Embrace this absence of the leaves.
Come, dream with her on a hillside
where braided rivers of branches
stretch their lengths to the sea-gray sky.

They tremble with wordless whispers
while the claws of the wind toss them
till the sun sinks like an anchor,
a blaze of flame over water.

They beckon beyond the sunset
as keys to a hidden city
where pockets are filled with stardust,
and shadows kiss before they flee.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


But my song shall see, and wake,
like a flower that dawn-winds shake,
and sigh with joy the odours of its meaning.

--Francis Thompson

It could be a sign that one has reached a certain age, or, on the other hand, a certain stage of perception, to wonder whether a cryptozoological creature might appear. Or it could be the edge of utter madness.

When I was challenged, the other day, to ask the permission of the unicorns to appear to me, I paused for a moment, and whispered, "If you would like to appear to me, I would be very grateful." And then I promptly forgot about this.

Yesterday, the alarm clock beeped insistently in the early hours; I tapped it, and hugged the pillow for a little while longer.

A very vivid image appeared to me, of a young girl with wild eyes, whose hair was streaming all akimobo in an unseen wind, a la Cosette. The sense was that she was an embodiment of inner innocence.

Following in the wake of this girl, a unicorn -- oh delight! made its appearance. The unicorn was silvery-translucent,  iridescent, and with a pale crescent-moon glow.

Yes, I realize it is still necessary to pay taxes, and make dinner, to wash up the dishes, scrub  the floors, and to perform a dozen other tasks around the house.

And yet, a subtle and honorable brand of magic manages to leave its footprints behind in every room.

I am always hearing. . . the sound of a far off song. I do not exactly know where it is, or what it means; and I don't hear much of it, only the odour of its music, as it were, flitting across the great billows of the ocean outside this air in which I make such a storm; but what I do hear, is quite enough to make me able to bear the cry from the drowning ship. So it would you if you could hear it.

--George Macdonald (At the Back of the North Wind)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Viktor Tsoi - Changes

This is one of those songs.