Speaking of Esenin, I forgot to mention that in his
earlier poetry he often used Christian symbolism, interpreting it rather freely.
The request "Gospodi, otelis'!" ("Do calve, Lord!"), in the
beginning of Preobrazhenie ("Transfiguration", 1917), became
proverbial. According to Khodasevich, in Esenin's religion (the
original blend of Christianity and paganism): Christ = son of
heaven and earth = harvest = calf = the incarnation of heavenly
truth = the coming Rus. Telok (the calf) in this series
makes one think of Biblical zolotoy telets (the golden calf), but
also of Ilf and Petrov's novel Zolotoy telyonok ("The Golden
Calf"). Its hero, Ostap Bender, confesses that he once impersonated Jesus
Christ. The title of the first novel of Ilf and Petrov's dilogy, "The 12
chairs", reminds one of Blok's poem "The Twelve" ending in the
unexpected appearance of Christ.
Telets is also Russian for "Taurus", a
zidiacal constellation and sign of the zodiac. VN and his two bêtes noires,
Lenin and Freud, were tel'tsy (Taurus). One also remembers "the
astorium in St. Taurus", Aqua's last hospital in Ada
The place names Ladoga and Kitezh that occur in
Ada are also mentioned in Esenin's poem Inonia
Perhaps I was wrong saying that Esenin dined with
the tsar, but it is true that he read his poetry to the Empress.