You will come back…

We draw a picture of every day and play the main role in a life story, choosing actors, decorations for more or less attractive plot. It seems that all events happen spontaneously, but all conceived facts lead along the paths towards the present day. These are “seeds” planted so long ago that we forgot about the crops growing on the “garden bed” of living and today is the time of harvesting.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 “Just start writing and thin thread will be pulled out of the ‘cotton’ ball” – advised my grandmother, who always wanted to continue our family tradition of poetry. In the postwar years, the family of my father survived thanks to a special insightful poetic and musical talent of my grandmother Alevtina. In lean years, she gathered seeds of elm trees and, grinding them into some kind of flour, cooked bread-like tortillas. When her four kids were on the brink of exhaustion, Alevtina had a night dream – a strange woman in a white gown held out her hands and gave her elm seeds. Awakened, Alevtina went to the garden path and found lots of elm seeds similar to the ones she saw in the mystical woman hands.
Unpretentious food was always accompanied by songs on a guitar and poems. It turned out into a real celebration of survival and triumph of the spirit, where happiness and misfortune twiddled their strange dances in a town called Vernyi, which meant Faithful City.
It was so long ago, but all stories remained in genetic memory. In my prosperous childhood, grandma’s music and the magic of words slowly came to define my concept of poetry and took an important place in my life.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     «By the smell touch – unknown archive -
Village spirit of wormwood,
scent of blooming lindens»

An intertwined destiny of the allotted time turning in a tangle of days, events and characters and continues into a long journey of Life. What to take in the luggage to surround one’s existence is an important choice. It seems simple – just start to believe in material thoughts, ability to own the life script and for these simply begin to watch, listen, feel and remember..

Poetry cannot change your past and define your future, but as under those postwar elm trees in the town of Vernyi, here remains the possibility to find salvation “seeds” of the soul, begin the cultivation of magical “crops” until everything begins to reincarnate in a picture of reality, putting thoughts into words, meanings and sounds:

«Heavy shoulders of a hushed garden,
Scarlet color licks apple tree leaves
in a rainy day …
In the palette of the past -
buttery silk of late flowers
and amber-cut shirts of trees -
the old sense of autumn magic…»

Adelaide – the new period of life.  Adelaide,  Alevtina – how many similarities and true ancient beauty in these names. Having left all precious values at the other end of the world, it seems that the ties between places, people, and senses of life will break down into small fragments. Time has passed rapidly since I first met Adelaide. There was a real need to find a link or a tiny hook, allowing the heart to have a hope: the same smell of rotting leaves, the dark alleys of parks, and clear morning freshness, which can emerge in the poetry of soul. It would be difficult to say better – this pensive city opened its gates and remained cordial, showing all hidden secrets:

«You will come back and feel in contrast -
In a step away from the cold alchemy of life,
There are modest, quiet polite suburbs.
Try to live artlessly -
this place is surprisingly simple -
trams, bridges, shiny rivers
and twisted lattice of parks.
Here, heavens weave their fragile nests
in abandoned dusty attics…»

Campbelltown. This quiet place has magically resembled the distant Faithful City surrounded by mountains, there was an amazing view over a misty green forest. The Linear Park with its running river, waterfalls, and reserves, constitutes a piece of Paradise where you can escape from the bustle city and feel at one with Nature.

But much earlier, the name of the Faithful City has been changed to Alma-Ata, which means “Father of Apples”.  Indeed, amazing apple trees famous throughout the world grew there. The “Apport” apple could weigh more than one kilo each. The beautiful orchard of my grandpa was hijacked by Soviet authorities and turned it into a government property. Such was the Soviet ideology – to allow for better control, all people should be equal and make up one grey crowd.

Modern time dictates new rules. The time of Communism has passed and European capitalism has brought back passion for a good and comfortable life.  Almost all apple orchards have been cut down by fortune seekers for the sake of building fashionable houses and cottages, but nature abhors a gross interference and the “lungs” of Alma-Ata have ceased breathing. The new buildings have obscured the natural flow of wind and streets have sank into the smog. Now, for a breath of fresh air the city’s occupants have to wait for a rain or escape into the mountains.


«Wake up.
Behind the fence, in the depth of a
shrouded garden, there is a leaking light from lanterns.
Night – cradle of hopes.
Crescent grins, compressing darkness,
falsetto of grumble garden wickets.
it is time to impose a foreword,
time to heal the futility,
Wake up on the dawn
where your life is not dressed
for the chill autumn weather»

The Torrens River – a sign of life, nurturing myriads of living creatures, flows from green hills of Campbelltown and slips into to the boundless ocean of eternity. The night city glows brilliantly in the water’s mirror.  From the old cathedral organ music can be heard with quiet, gentle and heartfelt tones.  The music gets into the depths of the heart and any religious difference disappears and transforms into unified and unifying power of people, which consists of happiness, love and peace. Of course, you must raise your head and see the moon and stars, hear the birds and feel your blessing in life:

«Go over the lines, overhearing the old creaking gate,
Daisies fled on hills,
The smell of dampness in the shed,
An old wheel in a yellow ocher,
the thin rusty tin roof.
An owl blinks – my eared favorite.

Sunset sits on top of pines,
Purple twilight colors melting in the creek,
In the velvety swamp is a singing choir of frogs.
The night creeps, silently straightening out the black crow’s wings…
Inside of the fine line of your years..”

Huge oak trees grew in my grandparents’ yard surrounded by an old rickety fence. Our one-eyed ginger dog Tuzik, the hulking barn, the brick and clay house with a round black iron stove inside, were representing undoubted values. The wash basin in the courtyard was comfortably located under a huge pine tree. In the morning, Grandpa Stepan used to brew tea under the pine and as an important ritual  he always touched the rough trunk, greeting the tree.

Every Christmas Grandma Alevtina fetched a leather box with decorations from an attic and dressed up the beloved tree. She always shook her head, admiring the beauty of the lush fragrant branches. Decorations peeled amidst the frost and snow, but Alevtina thoroughly repeated her Christmas rite for years.

And this marvelous life could have continued if not the decision of officials to demolish the entire area and resettle people in high-story apartments. Frustrated Grandpa did not want to leave the house and quietly murmured: ” I will lie down on the road and not let them to break my life.”

But it is happened against his will and grandparents were forced to move to a new blank area with the cold name “District No. 6″. There, longing for her native land, granny passed away shortly followed by already blind grandpa.

Long after, here, in Campbelltown’s leafy reserves, I still look for pine trees and old oaks, so I can touch their rough trunks and greet them as did my Grandpa Stepan.

Sitting under the tree, I think about a possibility to return to the past days and not to lose the valuable secret keys of life: ability to look, hear, feel and remember. Only with these magic abilities it is possible to feel love and live, creating wonderful plots.

Poetry had a power to change my life. It was the only way through which I could return home, where memories have been waiting for me for a long… long time.  And I will come back.

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