Emin (Born 1919)
In The Desert
Long to those hearts by sad thoughts
Seemed the weary, sorrowful road.
Mournful, they stumbled along without
Driven on by their sufferings' goad.
The crowd of Armenians wandered
Nature appeared as dead.
A monk of his people's plight sang
His soul full of death's cold dread.
"Ages of plunder," he thought as
"Massacres, exile, migrations...
The Lord is deaf to the voice of
To his groans, to his supplications.
If you can but see from your heavens,
Try and count the millions of corpses.
Never by thirst is the flesh so
As the soul is by Misery's tortures:"
He thought as he sang :
"These boulders, too,
If they had conscience,
Would blacken with tears.
Dim with tears, flows the fast Araks,
Gray with grief Masis appears.
But the Lord cannot see - too far
to the skies.
Ravaged by robbers, gutted with
The ancient Armenian motherland
What remains of its people weep
on its pyre."
He sang, but sorrow is not a cowl
To be cast off and forgot.
So much pain and suffering - how
Endure it, endowed with a heart
Events and surroundings - all seemed
In gloom medieval clad.
Overcome by the pain in his temples,
"All the world has gone mad!"
Ashes and dust filled the Turkish
The escort - asker** reported:
"The group was shot, except... on
One monk went mad," he snorted.
* Komitas (1869-1935) - outstanding
Armenian composer, who went mad in 1915 from the horrors of genocide in
** Asker - Turkish soldier.
Speak up, Armenia!
Speak, you who suffered all these
whose joy is only decades old,
Speak up now, unabashed, courageous,
There is so much the world and men
must yet be told.
The dove of peace alights on a new
Peace which you drearned of
Since to life you came.
Let words of ancient, sacred truth
Be spoken by your poet in your name.
Men, have you heard?
Not long ago in Karmir-Blur* was
A pitcherful of grain -
The sole remains
Of harvests grown by our Armenian
Upon the rocks of Urartu
The stony soil they irrigated with
Long ages through.
On that same day
Besides the grain was found
A spear our ancestors took up
When foes advanced,
Defending every inch of sacred ground.
No one can say today,
with all these centuries flown away,
What harvests it could yield,
That ancient, that primeval field,
For only this - a pitcherful of
Today remains. No one can say
After so many centuries have flown
How many tillers lived upon the
Where now so few survive,
Slaughtered, dispersed and banned.
Yet every grain that excavations
Will it not multiply and cover a
And each Armenian is like a tight-coiled
And you may rest assured:
In spite of all the suffering it
This handful of brave men - will
Back into life all that we ever
* Red Hill - ancient Urartan
fortress near Yerevan.
If you are unacquainted with my nation,
Look at this vine-'tis all you have
It has survived as many generations
And gone through all my folk has
Who, like it,
Could have struck its stubborn roots
And grown upon such unrewarding
That under countless hostile horses'
Turned into stone,
That took its toll of toil,
Moistened with sweat and blood instead
Who, like it, could have stood the
heat, the chain
Of suffering and hardship and dire
Who can recount
The innumerable times
When horses trampled
On these sturdy vines?
And yet the more they had been trampled
The stronger, hardier their roots
The bitterness with which their
Has only made their clustered fruit
.This stubborn vine...
On Spring's eve
Beneath the heavy knives that cleaved
Its living body
Like my folk
That April black*;
Yet into life sprung back!
Eternity reveals itself in it -
Though buried, it revived, alive
Surviving ruthless destiny's harsh
Just like Armenians-my deathless
What depths these roots have reached
through countless years;
To Urartu's grim walls they seem
These gleaming clusters,
Moist with morning dew,
Gleam with the light of life, forever
Bitter yet sweet, Armenia's golden
Bitter as p ain, alive until our
Heady as hope, and sweet as faith
It flows -
Through every vein -
Like living flame it glows.
* In April 1915 one and a half
million Armenians were massacred.