Snow – two feet thick, white, beautiful. I am traipsing through it. I am heading for the Gulf of Finland. I am Pariah the Gnome – truly. Verily, I am an outcast with a fairy-mind traipsing through the snow of Vasilevskii Island amongst the denizens of Bely’s hinterland of pan-Mongolism and I fear no evil.
I am thinking of an ancient pub called The Gate in a sleepy sunday south Bucks hollow once owned by a great-aunt who married a relative of Ramsay MacDonald; and we are descending upon it in Raj’s van as a wild horde of adolescent working-class Utopians disturbing the middle-class tranquillity and serenity of the summer pub garden in August sunshine. To disturb their smugness. Look. There’s Sarah. Sarah is a Pre-Raphaelite beauty with brown tresses falling round her brown oval face and down her pink floral smock. She is a schoolgirl. She is with her parents. She will be embarrassed, for we are tripping upon purple microdot acid. Todd Rungdren plays on the van’s hi-fi – Heaven in my body. Fortunately for Sarah the carpark is a few hundred yards down the road from the pub and the music does not carry. And Venedikt Erofeev was the Soviet Jack Kerouac and Todd Rungdren was our Aleksandr Blok and I am walking in the St Petersburg snow – and Initiation contained our Stixi o prekrasnoi dame. You’ve got to grow up some time. And I have remained pure, alive to the dream that cast its spell over our adolescent summers.
Veriu v Solntse Zaveta Vizhy zoriu vdali. But nobody saw us trippers. And there it is: the cold grey winter Baltic Sea; and around where I walk there is not a single footprint. My children are back home, safe and sound with their mother; once drops of sperm encircled by an egg they are raw pulsating life, intense energy, intellect and hope. Dream.
(Dostoevsky’s Place, Glyn F Ridgley, VIP 2017)