Pretty Shoes

This is a Pushkin Stanza, or a Russian Sonnet based on something that really happened to me in Moscow.

I looked down on a Moscow street
My treasure hunt to perpetrate
“Walk to a treasure now, thou feet!”
The Metro mocked me: “Don’t be late!”
I thought I saw a silver shine
With diamonds that I thought were mine
High-heeled shoes like a shiny pearl
Treasures worn by a pretty girl
I told her: “Those are pretty shoes.”
She thanked me with her eyes and smiled
Pretty diamonds will be exiled
By one who searches dusty views
I look up now, above the ground
Where pretty treasures can be found

A Poet of Poetry

On visiting the home of Anna Akhmatova and taking offense at the recorded tour guide refering to non-poets as the “average man Philistine.”

I’m just a poet; these are just my words
I like the way they sound like little songs
They’re not the little songs of little birds
But I decide where every word belongs
Yes, Anna Akhmatova was one too
They’ve filled her rooms with words she never said
The “average man” a “Philistine.” Who knew?
Her home could be offensive, now she’s dead
Was Anna like Delilah? I think not.
My hair’s too short for anyone to cut
My blood smells like the bloody words I’ve got
You think I’m full of shit? I’ll tell you what
My silence is the sound of poet’s grace
But only Anna’s words should fill this place.

Palace at Peterhof

They twisted gold in beauty like Versaille
In Peterhof, where Catherine made her home
And Peter built a simpler home nearby
The Gulf of Finland pulled his heart to roam
I wondered why the maids above the doors
Exposed one golden breast. To welcome me?
I walked across the wooden parquet floors
Before the taking of a toast and tea
I heard him; let us go then, you and I
Go see the gold that decorates the walls
In mirrors that Queen Catherine hung nearby
Let’s listen to the way the beauty calls
I know that Peter heard its sultry voice
While Catherine made another, golden choice.

The Dichotomy of Shadows

Dichotomy is shadows in the light
Love’s chandelier casts shadows when it’s lit
There may not be a reason, but there might
I hope my presence near you isn’t it
The sun reveals opacity in some
Transparency in others can be seen
A sunrise means a sunset too will come
I won’t get into what their colors mean!
When light invades the shadows of my room
I bid the shadows all a fond adieu
My lights announce the darkest shadow’s doom
And bring the words I’m seeking into view
Dichotomy in light can still be found
For shadows only come when light’s around.

The Hermitage

The Hermitage has priceless works of art
Within its priceless rooms, through priceless doors
Mosaic pictures play a priceless part
Beneath grand pillars made of priceless ores
Let light within the Hermitage reveal
The need for light to show us art is true
It also gives the masses mass appeal
It brings the face of god within their view
Come look; you’ll see the things the masters saw
You’ll see the way the masters left their mark
The way it shines, you’ll soon be filled with awe
Motifs of light can guide us through the dark
The Hermitage has priceless light inside
Where art has let divinity abide.

Symbols in St. Petersburg

The symbols in St. Petersburg are vast
Although the Neva’s short, it’s deep and wide
The city used to flood in days gone past
But now, it stands against the Baltic’s tide
Though flowing time engulfs a different fear
It floods the streets with symbols of the day
They may not be the icons we revere
But icons of life’s water have a way
Of shifting like the currents of the sea
While fleets of people drift upon their waves
Perhaps they show a different depth to me
Although we all sail on to shallow graves
They may be pretty boxes, but they’re tombs
The moisture of St. Petersburg consumes.


The halo of the Seraph shines; it’s round
A perfect circle, symbolizing grace
Two wings to fly and two safeguard his feet
Another two conceal his holy face
The Burning One, Prometheus released
From Heaven, where Zeus hid him from all men
But Gods cannot confine this fiery beast
And free of chains, he flies to earth again
There’s power in his halo and his wings
Angelic in demeanor, he commands
An Army of protection, which he brings
To battle hell, whenever it expands
He flies his grace to men, a holy light
But keeps his face and feet from evil’s sight.

The Icon of Saint George

I saw St. George on many different walls
The galleries of icons showed his deed
He strikes the evil dragon and it falls!
Symbolically, I understand the need
To kill the dragon, spear it in its mouth
The mouth produces evil words and flame
St. George destroyed the dragon from the South
Of Russia, namely Batu Khan, by name
But Mongols weren’t the only evil things
That threatened Russia; think of Reagan’s jest
Unwittingly, he used a phrase that stings
St. George turned his attention to the West
From South or West, all dragons must be slain
St. George, iconic hero, will remain!

Chekov’s House

I wonder if his desk could feel his pen
As keenly as I feel his spirit here
We’re kindred spirits: writers, worldly men
I feel his spirit now; I feel him near
He gave the sick their health; he gave it free
He understood the calling which he chose
But Dr. Chekov knew what he could be
He wrote as well, like one who surely knows
The sickness in his body took its toll
But not from Dr. Chekov’s written art
His fame today was surely not his goal
But fame will come regardless of our part
His desk, his pen, his words remain today
It must be here that Chekov wants to stay.

The Weary Traveler Discovers Moscow

This Moscow of dichotomies appears
Before this weary traveler can sleep
She’s welcomed and repelled the world for years
The rivers of her history are deep
The Muscovites are builders, and they’re good!
They’re artists too; it shows in all they build
With gold and glass, with brick and even wood
There’s pride within her architectural guild
And yet, it’s more than buildings they design
Their poetry and prayers possess the halls
Of every building, built with grace, divine
Be still, and listen how her spirit calls
This Moscow bids this weary man to write
And so I’ll sleep tomorrow, not tonight!