A Poem by Daniel Varoujan Translated by the Zoryan Institute
This poem is part of a collection titled, “The Song of the Bread.” It is an expression of thanks and an ask for blessing. It was published in 1921 in Istanbul, six years after Daniel Varoujan’s martyrdom in April 1915. He was part of the first group of intellectuals imprisoned and killed by Ottoman soldiers at the onset of the Armenian Genocide.
The soldiers had also confiscated his entire writings for censorship purposes. Fortunately, this collection “The Song of the Bread” was recovered by mere fate and synchronicity. An Armenian working for the censorship department at the time, using his financial resources, saved Varoujan’s last rays of intellect.
Amongst his notes were titles of poems that he had not yet completed as part of this collection, which were: “The Flour,” “The Yeast,” “The Wood Oven,” to name a few.
On the occasion of Thanksgiving, with boundless thanks, we share with you this poem that survived the genocide.
Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving.
The Zoryan Institute
I bring to you, Mother, the gift of my first harvest
To sacrifice on your Altar, where for centuries
The peach colored wax candles of my hives
have flown streams of Light and tears
You, the protector of our homeland
Which you gave the immortality of heaven.
You made the bud to flower, and hope to Dawn
that smiles on my hut
You, this full Cross, that I have woven with my own hands
accept it Mother. In the thousands of sheaves of wheat
these were dancing like virgin blonds
ripe and sun drenched
Under my armpit, still the dew on their heads
Fallen like rays harvested from the moon,
No bird had destroyed their full banks
With their beaks
I have woven them bundle by bundle
Giving the form of your son’s revered cross,
Whose blood, every Easter, are absorbed as
Sacred fire by the furrows
I have woven them with my hopes and wishes.
In them is the essence of the soil,
The fire of the sun and the glow of the coulter
Manly force of my arms and
Invocation of my grand children
Mother bless this cross in my hand. And give to my farms
Gold in the summers and pearls in the Spring.
As long as my silos are filled, the torches will shed light to your alter
Do in the same way—like the old days—
When you pay your visit field by field
No Thorns should come under your feet
But rather the peaceful poppies like our hearts.