Larissa drying apricots, at the dacha. From the essay A Radiant Shoreline on the Horizon. © Simon Crofts
"Paradise is made from a mixture of cow shit and straw."
In the Land of Endless Expectations is a project consisting of six picture poems about the Slav heartlands, by Simon Crofts, with accompanying essays and stories. Simon is rolling them out so sign up for updates.
A rich project that you will lose yourself to. Get tea!
Slava at home, Kherson, Ukraine
"Some, as I did, sink into a torpor and think of how to "shed the burden of time". Deep inside they often cherish the mad hope of surviving to a future in which they will recover their lost selves - something that will be possible only when true values have come into their own again. Their whole life consists of waiting for the first glimpse of a promised land, like a radiant shoreline on the horizon. Even though no such thing has ever existed on our planet, and never will, they have no eyes for anything else."
Hope Abandoned, Nadezhda Mandelstam
Serguei and Svetlana at home, Kherson, Ukraine
Koktebel, Crimea. All images © Simon Crofts
Nadezhda Mandelstam's husband, the poet Osip Mandelstam, picked up pebbles from the beach of Koktebel, put them in his pocket and carried them back to Moscow. In his essay Conversation about Dante he consulted his Koktebel pebbles to help him understand Dante. He was not alone - in the film Roads to Koktebel, by directors Khlebnikov and Popogrebskiy, the village of Koktebel becomes a kind of place of pigrimage, a name symbolising some kind of promised land that you begin to doubt even exists, for a young boy crossing Ukraine on his own trying to be reunited with his father.