The Church and the River

On the Neva’s wide banks in Your home, made of rocks

I stand quietly, breathing and staring

At Your icons which I try to pray to, but can’t:

My heart falters in doubt and I barely


Even manage to keep my hands close to the flames

Of the candles of hopes, crying, melting,

Changing sizes and shapes, burning down to the base –

So much like me that it seems unsettling


I stand like this all day, looking straight in Your eyes –

They’re alive with the flames’ golden flicker;

‘Where’s my candle today? Where’s the light of my life?’

I keep asking, my knees getting weaker


I will leave You at night: with the river I’ll walk

To the sea and dive into its copper

Waters smelling of cold, waters swarming with rocks:

I will whisper my prayers to Your waters