by Christopher Stolle
Monday, December 24, 2001
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To Andrei Rublev
Godless soil became fertile Christian crops in 988 AD
as Peter the Great shaved off everything but his moustache.
Serfs and sinners congregated on Nevsky Prospekt in St. Petersburg,
hoping to keep peace with those Greeks and Italians.
In my elegant clothes, five centuries later, I favored Moscow
with its mighty Kremlin and dainty women swirling around the Red Square;
these limestone walls and Mongolian influences astonished me,
but Tatlin’s Tower in Kiev was disgraced by Moscow’s dignant charm,
despite its steel pyramid feature and its glass cubes, triangles and spheres.
Skyline crests, pointed arches and golden domes detour me
while I plan portraits for annunciations, assumptions and dormitions;
but my savior with fiery eyes shall feast on bread and wine.
These frescoes and mouth-watering icons featuring mother and child
hold similar balance to hagiographical images with weeping sinners at a cross.
After the Paleologue Renaissance, I myself cried for sainthood,
but my critics told me religion and prayer are superstitious legends.
I consider myself a member in the dvoeverie faith,
able to believe in premonitions and historical value.
Thus, I planted flower seeds for Virgin Mary to watch grow;
she was no longer able to hold her dead son to her heart.
Now I roam in and out, near and away those eclectic Russian churches,
gazing skyward for a sign that my passion would remain;
but heaven turned gray as Jesus approached my farm.
Moscow would hold dear a culture contained in my poverty hues:
I hope my soul rests with fathers, sons and holy spirits for eternity.