He began by pressing parts of my stomach and thigh like on and off buttons. Then he would rub one area; then come back to the other as though my body was merely a grand organ in which only he could find the tune. Eventually I said 'We have not seen each other for a long time. Do you know in the last ten years I have read a lot of the Russian authors from the 19th Century.' His eyes lit up, like Russian eyes do, with a fervent madness and a zest for life which makes you believe you might have opened Pandora's box. 'Vell, let me shhow you somfink you von't believe, see zis, you see zis painting' he said of a Nikolai Ge painting he had retrieved on his iPad, 'zis is ze trooth zay were looking for' and he continued on with his diatribe until he arrived at a video of The Prophet by Alexander Pushkin. Now I was completely enthralled and I was on the mad Russian carpet ride along side him. He could have told me to drink caravan tea from a Samovar for one month straight with no food and I would have followed him in for the journey. Oh those Russians!
The Prophet By Alexander Pushkin
With fainting soul athirst for Grace,
I wandered in a desert place,
And at the crossing of the ways
I saw a sixfold Seraph blaze;
He touched mine eyes with fingers light
As sleep that cometh in the night:
And like a frightened eagle's eyes,
They opened wide with prophecies.
He touched mine ears, and they were drowned
With tumult and a roaring sound:
I heard convulsion in the sky,
And flight of angel hosts on high,
And beasts that move beneath the sea,
And the sap creeping in the tree.
And bending to my mouth he wrung
From out of it my sinful tongue,
And all its lies and idle rust,
And 'twixt my lips a-perishing
A subtle serpent's forkèd sting
With right hand wet with blood he thrust.
And with his sword my breast he cleft,
My quaking heart thereout he reft,
And in the yawning of my breast
A coal of living fire he pressed.
Then in the desert I lay dead,
And God called unto me and said:
"Arise, and let My voice be heard,
Charged with My will go forth and span
The land and sea, and let My word
Lay waste with fire the heart of man."