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December 9, 2004 by AK

St. Ksenia of St. Petersburg

Another poem by Elena Shvarts, this time on the Blessed Ksenia (Xenia) of St. Petersburg, whose husband died suddenly in the middle of a drinking party, and who insisted on wearing his clothes and being called by his name for a while after his death. (I vaguely remember reading her house was later destroyed in a flood.) For hagiographical links please see this old post.

Ksenia of Petersburg

Ksenia sacrificed Ksenia:
“My beloved one died. I’ll become him myself.”
She went out of her mind
and, like onto a round ice floe,
jumped into another:
into another one’s memory,
into another one’s dreams,
into a silken vest,
into red pants.
Running, in a basso
she shouts into damp dark:
“Live! I’m disappearing!
“Live!” to him she cries,
then runs out of Ksenia,
“Sick her! Quick!”
Too late: already she’s —
alive again — Andrey.
…Life shifts like sand and stings a little —
they both can’t live;
she’s got to quit — but where to? Woe!
While you were rambling there,
subterrene water
kept knocking on your house.
It washed out mind and sleep —
into that void
to move’s without your power,
within but Christ’s.


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