Ink marks on empty dreams

I am a footstep on the sands of time, I am an ink mark on an empty paper, without stanzas, without rhymes



Extraordinary women – Sophia Yakovlevna Parnokh – Russia’s Sapho



Dedicated to N.P.P.

I’m drunk on your wild caresses,
You’ve driven me crazy for you…
Just tell me I’ve only been dreaming
So I can believe that it’s true.

No, you want to torment me forever –
Why shouldn’t you play and have fun;
And smiling, you answer, carefree,
“We won’t do again what we’ve done.”

29 August 1902



Sophia Parnok (София Яковлевна Парно́к, 30 July 1885 O.S./11 August 1885 (N. S.) – 26 August 1933) was a Russian poet, journalist and translator. From the age of six, she wrote poetry in a style quite distinct from the predominant poets of her times, revealing instead her own sense of Russianess, Jewish identity and lesbianism. Besides her literary work, she worked as a journalist under the pen name of Andrei Polianin. She has been referred to as “Russia’s Sappho”, as she wrote openly about her seven lesbian relationships.

“Just listen, how amidst inspired dreaming
the soul will suddenly lay bare its secret curves.
Let your thought illuminate them brightly
with creation’s breath in an audacious surge.
You will see, then, how the endless distance
so easily and wondrously removes its haze,
and there upon a lofty pedestal of marble
the depth of worlds feels Beauty’s silent gaze.


Sophia Parnok, named Sonya Parnokh at birth, was born in 1885 into an affluent Jewish professional home in Taganrog, Russia. A southern port town on the inland Azov Sea, Taganrog was outside the immediate influence of Russian politics at a time when religious minorities, including Jews, were pervasively persecuted; while most Jewish settlers were forced to live within the Pale of Settlement, Parnok and her siblings were raised to think of themselves first and foremost as Russians. Their father, the local apothecary, was indifferent to religion and highly assimilated into Russian culture, and the family was materially comfortable and lived among the intellectual elite. While she was still quite young, however, her mother Alexandra Parnokh , a doctor, died while giving birth to twins.

Parnok attended the Empress Marie Gymnasium for Girls for ten years, studying a wide range of topics, including several languages, music, and math. She was also educated by a governess who became her stepmother, and she “carried away from her childhood the strong feeling that she had had no childhood, that she had emerged into adulthood at too young an age,” wrote her biographer Diana Burgin . Already beginning to write poetry in her youth, Parnok was rebellious against her family’s settled existence, believing it restrained her creativity. When she was about 20, she left to study music in Geneva, Switzerland. Before completing a degree there, she moved back to Russia, this time to St. Petersburg, where she studied history, philosophy, and law.

sophia parnokh


Life  is a woman. Merely by her own seductions
Intoxicated, she will stand above her victim.
The more unhappy is the soul that lies before her,
the fuller she all is with unrestrained desire,
How often her mysterious gaze has hovered over
my soul with powerful inquisitiveness,
but merely had my soul to quiver in responding  –
and silently, with unconcern, she sought the distance.


Beginning to write seriously, Parnok was first published in a literary journal in 1906. Several of her literary reviews at this time were published under the male name Andrey Polyanin, as she believed that her work thus would be more seriously accepted within the male-dominated literary circles. In 1907, Parnok married Vladimir Volkenshtein, but the marriage was brief in large part due to her lesbianism, of which she had become aware very early in her youth. She accepted and celebrated this facet of her self, frequently invoking mythological goddesses and the poet Sapho in her work: in one poem, using the voice of Aphrodite, Parnok writes, “There’s talk, Sappho: / They want to know to whom you write your eternal love songs, / Nectar of the gods! To young men or to maids?”

It still hasn’t got any cares, it’s still young at heart,

it still hasn’t cut its first teeth, our Passion –

not vodka, not spirits, yet no longer water,

its mischievous, bubbly, melodious Asti.

You still don’t know how to pale when I come up to you,

your pupil still doesn’t become fully widened,

I know, though you think that the magic I do

exceeds what I did in Kashira or affectionate Kashin.

Oh where is that tiny, forsaken, and garden-filled town,

(perhaps on the map they don’t bother to site it?)

in some kind of sixteen-year-old excitement?

Where’s the cottage with jasmine and the welcoming night,

and curlicue arches of hop-plants above us,

and thirst which could no longer be satisfied,

and sky, and a sky more impassioned than Petrarch’s.

At the end of my last or next-to-last spring –

together the two of us dreamed crazy dreams,

I burn up my night in a savage, a beautiful fire.

Dec 26 1931

As the strictures of the Victorian era faded and then were swept away in the sea change brought by World War I, women’s contributions to and acceptance in Russian poetry increased. Using her own name, Parnok published her first book of poetry in 1916, simply titled Poems. During this time she maintained intimate relationships with several women, including Nadezhda Polyakova , and began writing freely about her experiences. Her love affairs directly influenced her work, leading to surges of creativity that linked artistry and eroticism. An intense two-year relationship with poet Marina Tsvetayeva , who was married and the mother of a child, coincided with a particularly creative period.


Give me your hand, and let’s go to your sinful paradise!…

Defy all State Pension Plans of heaven,

May returned for us in wintertime,

and flowers blossomed in the greening meadow,

where in full bloom an apple tree inclined

its fragrant fans above the two of us,

and where the earth smelled sweet like you,

and butterflies made love in flight…

We’re one year older now, but what’s the difference –

old wine has also aged another year,

the fruits of ripe knowledge are far more succulent.

Hello my love! my grey-haired Eve!

Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, Parnok moved to Sudak, in the Crimea, where she continued writing poetry and also wrote a libretto for an opera. She returned to Moscow in 1922, the same year she published her second book of poetry, Roses of Pieria. This was followed in 1923 by The Vine and in 1926 by Music. In an effort to avoid Soviet censorship, with some others she established a small press called Uzel (meaning “knot” or “group”). The government soon learned of the operation and shut it down. Her final book of poetry, 1928’s In a Hushed Voice, was published after it had been edited by censors. Later considered by critics a major work, the book went essentially unnoticed at the time. In 1930, Parnok completed a libretto for an opera, Almast, which was successfully staged at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow; it was the last of her work made public in her lifetime. In 1931, she met her last love and companion, physicist Nina Vedneyeva , who greatly influenced her work during the following years. Parnok’s health grew steadily worse until she died of heart problems in August 1935, in the village of Kirinsky, near Moscow. Her death barely received mention in the Moscow papers.

diana l burgin sophia parnok the life and work of Russia's Sappho

Much of Parnok’s literary career corresponded to a time of increasingly severe repression in Russia, as the group became idealized and prized far above the individual; Joseph Stalin denounced lyric poetry in particular for being out of step with his political goals for the country. Despite the very limited printings of her work and her small audience, Parnok persisted in writing in a bold style, publishing five volumes of poetry, a significant quantity of literary critiques, and the libretti to several operas. (It is believed that much of her unpublished work has been lost.) She was the only openly lesbian voice in Russian poetry at a time when homosexuality was considered psychologically abnormal and a sign of moral degradation in Russian society. Beginning in the 1970s, interest in Parnok’s work grew significantly. A collection of Parnok’s poetry, Sophia Parnok: Collected Works, was published in the United States in 1979 by Sophia Polyakova of Leningrad University (it was not published in the USSR)

Perhaps because I wished to fall in love with being
with so much obstinate avidity,
I felt more vividly how bottomlessly
dispassion for it had come over me.
But what of now? Can I be captivated
by life in an enraptured rush I do not understand?
My soul luxuriates in boundless freedom
as if inhaling life for the first time.



Sources :

Diana Lewis Burgin

check books on her :

Sophia Parnok: The Life and Work of Russia’s Sappho

by Diana L. Burgin


The floating poem

by Adrienne Rich


Whatever happens with us, your body
will haunt mine—tender, delicate
your lovemaking, like the half-curled frond
of the fiddlehead fern in forests
just washed by sun.

carol-pelicula look of love

Your traveled, generous thighs
between which my whole face has come and come—
the innocence and wisdom of the place my tongue has found there—
the live, insatiate dance of your nipples in my mouth—

your touch on me, firm, protective, searching
me out, your strong tongue and slender fingers
reaching where I had been waiting years for you
in my rose-wet cave—whatever happens, this is.

clexa the look of love

Rebeccah and the Highwayman by Barbara Davies


„Rebeccah and the highwayman” is a lesbian  historical novel placed in England during Good Queen Anne’s reign. Those are dark middle ages times when countries knew two social classes : the very rich and the poor and some of the poor turned into Robin Hood’s because of the social differences. It’s not exactly a tale of the musketeers either, but highwaymen were highly rated and both loved and hated for what they were doing.

In this turmoil of a world, our two main characters meet : the Dutton’s carriage is attacked by highwaymen on their road home, yet the elder daughter of the rich family : Mistress Rebeccah Dutton is yet fascinated by „Blue Eyed Nick”’s eyes and mannerism or pity when „he” doesn’t take her father’s ring away from her.

I enjoyed how „Blue Eyed Nick”’s identity is kept a secret from Rebeccah, yet I wished it would have been kept a secret from the reader, too.

We make aquaintence with Kate, who’s a low class woman living with her landowner Alice, so our „Blue Eyed Nick” is a woman and above all, a woman who happens to love women. Of course, she had fallen in love at first sight with the fair haired and greened eyed mistress Rebeccah, yet she doesn’t want to let to go to the villain life and chooses not to ruin Rebecca’s path to a marriage.

Kate takes care of her mother and her  brother’s son. Her brothers are both dead and we learn the man who made kate become a highwaywoman had betrayed her like many other apprentices and then turned them in. That’s a smooth spot on Kate’s conscience as she had killed him as revenge.

Mistress Rebeccah Dutton has a beautiful family, her mother and her sister Ann, ready to get married and wanting for her the same thing, yet Rebeccah had someone else on her mind. Loved her feminist views.


“Mama, I cannot marry him. I’d die in childbed, or if not there then of boredom. Besides, he’s fat and has a double chin.”

Her mother chuckled. “Not that fat. You are too particular, Beccah. You must lower your sights.”

“Do men ever lower theirs?”

“You cannot blame them for being concerned about financial matters, dear. But there are other considerations. Your face and figure are acceptable, thank heavens, and you have other assets besides your marriage portion. I didn’t agree with your father sending you to Mrs Priest’s – education only makes a woman dissatisfied with her lot – but I own that it instilled in you many of the accomplishments desirable to a husband.”

Rebeccah doubted any gentleman would appreciate her calligraphy, but held her tongue. “Then why aren’t gentlemen queuing to ask for my hand?” Her question was only half in jest.

“Be patient. Once Anne is married, it will be your turn. We will find you a man who is moderately wealthy, kind, well mannered …”

Rebeccah tuned out the rest of her mother’s list. I don’t want ‘kind’, I want passionate. Someone whose merest look can start butterflies in my stomach and make my palms damp. A pair of pale eyes popped into her mind’s eye. Oh, go away!


Kate’s and Rebeccah’s second meeting happens all of the sudden again on the streets and playfully Kate as „Blue Eyed Nick” asks Rebeccah for a kiss and she convinces „him” to kiss her hand alone.

Rebeccah’s character is build far better than Kate’s, as she’s a villain, she should be a little scary and I get the fact that she’s attracted to her victim, but she’s to easy on Rebeccah and easily convinced to do as she pleases, now remeber she’s supposed to be a robber and a murderer.


 „A sudden urge to see those blushing cheeks and green eyes again overtook Kate, and before she could stop herself, she had dug in her heels and urged Clover forward, angling the mare to intercept the approaching carriage.

“Have you not yet learned, Mistress Rebeccah, that it’s unwise to travel alone after dark across deserted heaths?”

“You may pass unharmed for a minor toll.” She heard her own words with a sense of amazement. What was she doing? She needed money and this family obviously had more than sufficient. “A kiss.”

“I will pay your toll.” Rebeccah ignored her sister’s sharp intake of breath and her mother’s shocked protest. “On one condition.”

Kate was intrigued. “Name it.”

“You may kiss only my hand.”


Still holding her gaze, Rebeccah began to remove a glove, finger by finger. Kate wondered if she was aware how arousing that was.

She laughed and made a small bow. “As you wish, Madam. And then I shall escort you to safer territory.”

As her mare fell into step beside the carriage, Kate saw that the curtains of one of the windows were drawn back and a pair of green eyes was staring out at her. She winked at Rebeccah, expecting her to blush and turn away, but the young woman continued to stare at her, brow creased

What are you thinking? wondered Kate. Did my kiss disgust you or give you pleasure? Would you like another? I would be more than happy to oblige, especially on those pretty lips. 

She had thought the kiss would be of no consequence, but it had been … unexpected. How soft the highwayman’s lips were! And how odd she had felt when they touched the skin of her palm … as though butterflies were dancing in her stomach.

Rebeccah followed her friend’s anxious gaze and shook her head. “I would have spotted him. He has his own hair, whereas most men of my acquaintance wear wigs. And then there’s his height and bearing, and those striking eyes …” She sighed. “In all likelihood I will never see him again.””

„Caroline gave her an approving glance. “The highwayman wanted to purchase the freedom of as many of those unfortunates as he could. Even after the Keeper had taken his share, there was still enough left to free five men and women.””

„Rebeccah commanded her racing heart to slow. The incompetence of most thieftakers was well known. In fact some were unlikely to come across their quarry unless they tripped over him or he gave himself up. Pray God she hired one of those.”

(c) Manchester City Galleries; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

After the second encounter, Anne, Rebbecah’s sister hired a professional roadthief / highwaymen hunters and he seems to be the best. Rebeccah hoped he’s lame and wants to see her highwayman again. On their third encounter, Kte rescues her and her maid from  other highwaymen, yet she’s shot by them and Rebeccah decides to take her home and this is how she finds out who’s behind the mask and is very confused with her feelings as she knows she has fallen for Blue Eyed Nick and now he’s a woman. After Kate gets better  and Rebeccah gets to know her she realizes there’s no difference in her feelings. Is it possible she has fallen for a woman who happens to be a villain?


With difficulty, she eased Blue-Eyed Nick’s coat over his shoulders, followed by his waistcoat, then started unbuttoning his shirt. Beneath it, wrapped tightly around his chest several times, was a long narrow strip of coarse white cotton, now soaked with blood. She frowned and wondered if it were protection against the cold, though on a warm August night it seemed unlikely. With a shrug, she began to unwind it.

From outside came a jingle of harnesses and murmur of voices. The carriage jerked forward a yard then came to rest. Then it dipped as Mary climbed aboard, her arms full of moss.

“Found some.”

The last of the cotton strip came free, and Rebeccah’s startled intake of breath attracted Mary’s attention.

“Bless me, now I’ve seen everything!” murmured the maid, peering round Rebeccah at the shapely breasts now revealed. After a moment she chuckled. “Well, well.” She tried to ease past Rebeccah, who was frozen with shock. “Excuse me, Madam. But I’ll need to get closer if I’m to treat her.”


A groan from behind followed by Mary’s protest made Rebeccah turn. The highwaywoman’s eyes were open, and she had pushed herself up on one elbow and twisted to face Rebeccah. Her skin was ashen, and there was a glaze to the pale eyes that Rebeccah didn’t like the look of.

“Lie still,” ordered Mary. “Do you want to make the bleeding worse?”

“Your footman won’t be able to … Clover.” The injured woman slumped back, her eyes closing.

Realisation that the undercurrent of attraction between them was as strong as ever made her feel off balance. “Were you mocking me?” she blurted.

“I beg your pardon?”

“When you kissed me. 

“When you kissed me. … For you’re a woman, are you not?”

Kate chuckled. “Whoever stripped me of my clothes …” She sobered as she saw Rebeccah’s expression. “But I see you are in earnest…. To answer you, my dear. Indeed I was not mocking you.”

For some reason, that ‘my dear’ soothed Rebeccah’s agitation. “Then why did you kiss me?”

“For the simplest of reasons,” said Kate gently. “Because the moment I saw you I wanted to.” She paused. “Does that shock you?”

“God gave me an appreciation of the female form,” said Kate, her tone unrepentant, “and I thank him for it.” Her gaze became quizzical. “Forgive me, but I was under the impression that you did not find my attentions wholly repugnant. Was I mistaken?”

Rebeccah cheeks flamed. “I thought you were a man!”

“So you did.” Blue eyes twinkled. “And now that you know otherwise?”


Rebeccah felt an overwhelming urge to tell her friend everything. But she would be shocked indeed to know that at this very minute Blue-Eyed Nick is sleeping soundly in my bed, and what’s more that he is a she. So she clamped down on the impulse and asked instead, “What can you mean?””

„Pulling a chair next to the bed, she took Kate’s larger hand in hers, pleased to find that, almost at once, the frown smoothed and the muttering ceased. She contemplated the other woman’s handsome profile, trying to decide which of her features she found most appealing, deciding in the end that it was those striking eyes, currently hidden from view, that caused her heart to flutter the most.”

“Indeed.” Kate grinned. “My mother paid the premium for me to be apprenticed to a mantua-maker.”

Kate’s face darkened. “Mistress Coggs’ husband. Though I was just turned thirteen and he five-and-sixty, the drunken sot took a fancy to me. One afternoon, when his wife was out, he tried to rape me.” She shrugged then winced and clasped her injured shoulder. “I was able to defend my honour – my brothers had taught me how. I kneed him in the stones and fled.”

“Where did you go?”

“The streets, of course. But I had no intention of selling my body, so I became a cutpurse.”

“But surely … Your parents…”

Kate shook her head. “My father died when I was five. And I could not bring the constables down on my mother. She had been through enough already. … That was the year my sister died.” she explained. “Jane was only nine. Smallpox.”

Yet it was odd, mused Rebeccah, how safe she felt with this self-confessed thief and escaped prisoner. Maybe that was an indication of just how dangerous Kate really was. She charmed her way inside your defences and before you knew it she had stolen your money … and your heart.

But how is that possible? She is a woman!

Thomas looked shocked at the very idea. “Do not give up hope yet. For someone as sweet and goodnatured as you, there is a suitable husband out there, I am certain of it. It is just a matter of finding him.”

Her, corrected Rebeccah sadly, but she managed a smile for her companion. For I have already found and lost her, I fear.


Kate is feeling better and she has to leave Rebeccah’s bed, besides small kisses and embraces, nothing has happened, but their attraction grew wilder, yet they had to go back to their lives. Kate went back to her lover Alice, to her duties and to her mask of Blue Eyed Nick, yet it doesn’t feel so right anymore and she doesn’t know what to do, yet fate comes her way again.

Anne, Rebeccah’s sister is about to be married to a Mr.Ingram when she’s kidnapped by their footman and she fears that man will marry her sister without approval for her fortune as their father had left Anne his business store, as Rebeccah was beautiful and Anne not very gifted on this part. So, Rebeccah reaches for Kate’s help, yet finds Alice who kind of dismisses her, yet Kate finally comes to the rescue and together they find Anne and that man in a bad neighbourhood were illegal marriages were being taking place. They bring back Anne home , yet the man she hired for hunting Blue Eyed Nick has found Kate and called the Police, so Kate is now a convincted highwaywoman, a thief and a murderer and she’s about to be hanged.

With all this, Rebeccah needs to find a way to rescue Kate and above all she gets a marriage proposal.

Her mother’s opinion about marriage:

„“Bless me, are we back to that old song? A woman must learn to count herself lucky if her marriage brings her security and good company.” Rebeccah’s mother glanced at her, saw the stubborn set of her jaw, and sighed. “But I collect that you will do as you think fit, as always. Keep in mind, though, I beg you, that at three-and-twenty you are not getting any younger, Beccah, and another marriage proposal may not come your way.””

Rebeccah’s marriage proposal refused

„“Good God!” He tugged his waistcoat straight, and a button pinged into the fireplace. Rebeccah bit the inside of her cheek to keep from bursting into hysterics. “Do you mean to tell me, that I have travelled all this way, risking hours of discomfort, highwaymen and Lord knows what else, and this is to be my answer?”

“I fear so. I can only apologise once more for the gross inconvenience you have suffered.”

“Well, ‘tis of no matter.” He sniffed. “There are plenty of other sensible young women,” he eyed her meaningfully, “who will be only too eager to become Mistress Dunlop.”

„She was in a noisome cell at Newgate, sitting on the lap of a convicted felon, a woman no less, who, if things didn’t work out as Rebeccah hoped, was going to hang in a two days’ time. And she had never felt so at home or so alive in all her life.”

After that, Rebeccah asks her aunt Sarah’s help, who happens to be Countess of Marlborough and a very good friend of the Queen, as we know Kate’s only chance is to get a pardon from the Queen to be released from everything. After a long quest and little time, Rebeccah manages to get the Queen’s pardon and get to Kate in time before the hanging. Yet, that pardon came with one condition from the Queen : Kate has to be employed by the Dutton’s and leave her bad ways behind. Kate has no doubt about it, as she knows she’s in love with Rebeccah and this would be the best way to be close to her, yet doesn’t want to ruin her chance to be with a man, yet Rebeccah doesn’t want that, but she wants Kate for good and invents a business for both her and Kate : a horse riding school for children and women. It’s quite brilliant and enjoyable.

I loved to read this story, a romance between women in a dark era, yet somehow too romanticized and I would have loved more villain action and a little lovemaking between them.



Ce bine că eşti



Ce bine ca eşti


E o întâmplare a fiinţei mele
şi atunci fericirea dinlăuntrul meu
e mai puternică decât mine, decât oasele mele,
pe care mi le scrâşneşti într-o îmbrăţişare
mereu dureroasă, minunată mereu.

Să stăm de vorbă, să vorbim, să spunem cuvinte
lungi, sticloase, ca nişte dălţi ce despart
fluviul rece în delta fierbinte,
ziua de noapte, bazaltul de bazalt.

Du-mă, fericire, în sus, şi izbeşte-mi
tâmpla de stele, până când
lumea mea prelungă şi în nesfârşire
se face coloană sau altceva
mult mai înalt şi mult mai curând.

Ce bine că eşti, ce mirare că sunt!
Două cântece diferite, lovindu-se amestecându-se,
douâ culori ce nu s-au văzut niciodată,
una foarte de jos, întoarsă spre pământ,
una foarte de sus, aproape ruptă
în înfrigurata, neasemuită luptă
a minunii că eşti, a-ntâmplării că sunt.


Nichita Stanescu






Breathless tremor




Some nights are breathless without you by my side,
Some days are lonely without your smile to tame me,
Some places are empty without the seducing feeling of us,
Some songs are wordless without an embraced dance of us.
The same things that used to be so familiar before,
Now, they’re dying butterflies as you are not here anymore.


Every night I empty my thoughts,
But until morning they are full of you again.
As droplets of us lazily linger within the sorrow of my hungry heart.
How can I follow the path, when I have lost the map?
It’s all coming back to me now,
Overwhelming this sad soul with whispered memories,
Of a seducing love that has inflamed our spirits.
Feelings lost, memories found.
Bruise my aching heart,
With yearnings of you at dawn,
With piercing sorrow at nightfall.
Nothing moves, as the night is deeper measured in silence,
Whenever pictures of you conquer my mind’s eye,
With blissful promises of evanescence,
With sensual touches that cross imagery’s borderline,
Through crimson sunsets beneath whispering pines,
And many moonlight kisses under sleeping willows,
Devour my boldness,
Take away my happiness.
Because all that was you, became a part of me too,
As bitter sweet memories have stolen my soul,
And emptied my heart,
You were one of a kind,
You were a spell of the mind.
Shaman of shallow emotions,
Guru of blind devotions
Love gave my heart dimensions of desire,
And aroused my senses within the everlasting fire,
Entwined with the devouring pain swirling in my soul,
In your hands I was a small doll,
A playmate that brought you to the awaited fall,
You have never heard my heat’s deafening call.

I was your shelter for the rainy days,
I was a shoulder to cry on in the darkest of nights,
As you were a prince of fabulous sensations,
Who’s kingdom was promised to way to many princesses.


Now I am a violin with broken strings,
A hazard candle in the wind,

Who innocently believed in your promises,
But you promiscuously took my love for granted,
Now, I know you were a flame that burned out too soon in time,
You were a passion of the past with a flawless shine,
I keep searching for a breath, a fingerprint, a scent you have left behind,

A breathless tremor of our hearts entwined.

lonely teddy

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: