In St. Petersburg , composed beauty is as intrinsic to the Russian psyche as an empathy for snow. Unlike the grassy expanses of English parks, avenues of trees radiate from a central fountain in the Summer Garden. Soft sunshine filters through the leaves of young poplars to caress the white marble cheeks of the statue muses. Babushas sit sunning themselves on park benches while mothers rock their babies and women wearing Prada enjoy chia in an outside cafe. In the winter time, the statues are carefully wrapped in brown hessan as the snow covers the paths and empty branches.
Both London and St. Petersburg tubes display ‘Poetry on the Underground’. Russian and European poems, translated into English and Russian, sit alongside advertisements for tomato sauce and washing machines. Many of the poems describe the Spring or hope.
Everyone carries a twinned box or stout bag on the underground. Baskets are filled with mushrooms and hessan bags with potatoes and turnips. Distribution networks are so poor that if factory workers and farmers did not bring their produce to the city to sell on streetcorners, many in the city would be without food. Even businessman maintain allotments in the countryside for when cheap goods are scarce in stores. All travel by tube underneath the poetry.
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