Saturday, May 08, 2010


Church of Transfiguration at Kizhi, Karelia region (near St Petersburg, Russia) 1714

There'll be noone in the house
Save for twilight. All alone,
Winter's day seen in the space that's
Made by curtains left undrawn.

Only flash-past of the wet white
Snowflake clusters, glimpsed and gone.
Only roofs and snows, and save for
Roofs and snow -- no one at home.

Once more, frost will trace its patterns,
I'll be haunted once again
By my last-year's melancholy,
By that other wintertime.

Once more I'll be troubled by an
Old, unexpiated shame,
And the icy firewood femine
Will press on the window-pane.

But the quiver of intrusion
Through those curtain folds will run
Measuring silence with your footsteps,
Like the future, in you'll come.

You'll appear there in the doorway
Wearing something white and plain,
Something in the very stuff from
Which the snowflakes too are sewn.

Poem by Leonid Pasternak 1890-1957                                           


This church is at Izma, Arkhangel Region of  Northeastern Russia built in 1679.  It is on 65°  Northern Latitude; about the same as Fairbanks Alaska or Great Bear Lake in Northern Canada.

Interior of Kondopanga, Karella Region, Church of the Assumption 1774 --  This church may still be in use.   

These Photos and others  were taken by Richard Davies as he roamed the north country of Russia recently.

The churches were built during the reign of Peter the Great who ruled from age 10 in 1682 43 years until 1725.  Seems he was responsible for many improvements in Russia in attempts to modernize; and it is said that he studied incognito in Europe for a few years around the turn of the century attempting to gain knowledge of other cultures' methods and  progress.

I wonder as as to those attending these churches.  They probably led a harsh life as compared to what we enjoy, and badly needed the solace of a warm place to gather and be with others during the long winters ; belief may have been secondary, but necessary.  But just as those raised in poverty and not really realizing it until later life when they could look back and compare,  I suspect that the members of the church considered themselves lucky with a decent growing season, their good health, and their ability to overcome adversity and produce those who would go on to the next section of years of faith and survival.

Lends a new aspect  to me of the term "Godless Communists" ; those I was told we were fighting in Vietnam and Korea to keep our fair and worthy country free.

  But then, any generalization for war seems to be a good generalization for war in a pinch.