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Letter to Yerevan (Part III)

Letter to Yerevan (Part III)

The Armenian Weekly is periodically publishing the English translation of Andranik Tzarukian’s epic 1945 poem ‘Tught ar Yerevan’ (‘Letter to Yerevan’).

If there was, in the past, a certain crude
And drunk mauserist,
Wasn’t there also a demented Avis,
Who, flouting Great Lenin’s diktat,
In the dark cellar of a Yerevan dungeon
Staged an orgy of slaughter by hatchet…
To raise, once more, the old virulent rancor
And like searing vitriol
fling it—as infamy—at each other’s face…?
Recall how died Hamazasp the warrior?
To recall, recall still? Why, when by now,
The heavy, leveling roller of history
Has passed over all rancor and acrimony…

And why not return to the wind
That which ill winds had brought to us
And sow dark seeds of conflict
Amongst brethren-at-heart?
Why not pluck out from our verdant spirit
Those base growths as toxic weeds
And remain unaware, that this old conflict
Was the bloody game of our cruel lot
And the ultimate hilarity of our fate
Thrown at our exhausted people’s eyes

Still tearful with endless miseries…
Perhaps, a mindless, inebriated deity
Still dictated, that a whole country
Be put to the sword,
That an entire nation be sent to the desert
To be slaughtered to the last child and elderly,
To have virgin and new bride raped at will,
To have Cross and Altar desecrated with no fear,
And full half of it—a million lives—
To be devoured by death,
So that the other half may survive and thrive,
Yet, its newborn country to be dampened
Once more with Armenian blood – this time,
By Armenian hands…

Men may be able to displace mountains
And rein in rivers with brute force —
But, who is the one
Able to fake the verdict of ages,
And draw a curtain across the blue sky
To hide the shining star of gallantry?

“Dashnak hounds”?
But, who are they, all these hounds?
Against whose sacred memory,
A certain Abov, versifier and hunter of words,
Has come to empty his paper quiver…
Are they dogs? Those saintly warriors,
Men turned to dust for the love of soil,
Whose hearts, like bursting bombs,
And their very lives, like a wild tempest
At the mercy of  harsh Armenian mountains,
With a mountain of grudge against the foe,
Marched from life to death…

Are they dogs, these splendid heroes,
Risen to soar like legendary dragons
At the early dawn of our freedom,
To become stunning spirits of folklore?
Those, who in the darkest of days
Rambled on as illuminating bonfires
To rekindle the light lost eons ago
And make it shine again in Armenian huts,
And the rainbow of justice to arch
High above Armenian lands,
So that the precise plow may pierce
The tortured flank of our black soil,
And in the furrows, instead of warm sweat,
let no blood drip from the peasant’s brow,
So that at the sacred table of repast
There be no curse heard instead of Grace,
And make the yellow moon of justice
Never appear like an open wound
To the sleepy eyes of our children.

 

***

On the occasion of the 99th anniversary of the establishment of the First Republic of Armenia (1918-1920), the Armenian Weekly announced that it will be periodically publishing the English translation of Andranik Tzarukian’s epic 1945 poem “Tught ar Yerevan” (“Letter to Yerevan”).

The translation, which will be published in parts and culminate on the Centennial of the First Republic of Armenia, is a collaborative effort between the editor of the Armenian Weekly Rupen Janbazian and former editor of the Armenian Review and former director of the ARF and First Republic of Armenia Archives Tatul Sonentz-Papazian.

(Read Part I and Part II)

 

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