Wednesday, 30 September 2009


The so called Russian Dolls first appeared in the last quarter of the 19th century and were initially known as Matryoshka Dolls. Matryoshka was a popular name among the peasants of that time and its root was in Latin ‘mater’ which means ‘mother’.
In the super feudal Russian society of the time life of a peasant mother was tough in many respects. Apart from the daily grind, poverty and harshness of the climate, feudal landlords had the right of life and death, they had the right to send your sons into the tsar’s army for an indefinite period of time more often than not never to be seen again, they had the right of the first night with your daughters. All of that was so much more painful for the strong emotional nature of the family relationships.
Yet in the middle of all these unimaginable for us circumstances the faith in God: powerful, loving and just remained unshaken. Looking at the dolls I was reminded of the importance of the ‘Sunday best’ and how treasured it was. I was also reminded of one of my CDs of Russian Cossack songs sung in deep beautiful bass and baritone voices and so moving…We have the image of the Cossacks as the wild riders of the steppes, hot tempered and ruthless fighters and so they were but listening to their songs you realise the deep faith that permeated their lives. A large proportion of the Cossack songs is directed to God in worship.
So here is the train of thought that led me to write:

They say:
You are so smart, so elegant-
They don’t see
My hidden chapped hand.
Show me, says He

They say:
You are so calm, so serene-
They don’t know
The turmoil I am in.
Tell me, says He

They say:
How are you, but
They don’t wait for the reply.
I’ll wait, says He

They say:
Good to see you, but
They don’t tell you why.
I’ll tell you, says He

All is well with my soul

Sept 2009

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