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

8 thoughts on “The Church and the River

      1. True, it certainly takes courage to step into those cold, unkind waters. Sometimes such experiments end badly… That might be because letting doubt into one’s system is in a way similar to taking a leap of faith: one could soar or one could crash.

  1. Is this Sidhartha’s river but different geography? The river changes every moment and different from the prior moment but yet it is always the same river. But it is not the river to whom you speak.

    1. Thank you for your response, Carl! It may very well be Siddhartha’s river, his ‘teacher’. This river is fluid, ever-changing, unlike the stone church. And yet, essentially, neither the church nor the river really change. The character must be trying to find a way, a ‘place’, to speak to that unchanging essence they share.

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