Poem: Ode to Sleep

By Aris Shaklian, 1934
Translated by Tatul Sonentz  

Like mother’s milk, I knew you, nectar sweet,
Cherished like the dusky pupils of both eyes,
As you lay on me your soft fingers, so fleet,
Shifting to my lips from my eyelashes,

Allowing my drowsy head to repose
On your breast, like a lazy moon on the azure,
As live with arousal, saffron lights arose
And opened wide the sails of dream and leisure.

In your soothing arms, I left behind my sadness,
Your caresses on my skin were much purer
And delightful than the kindling kisses
Of any remote coveted lover…

Reposed, my body surrendered to your body,
And you entered me, all velvet and flower,
Conjoined part of me, pure, immense mystery,
Both hashish and arousing wonder…

Oh, Sleep, since I knew you and your affection,
Above and beyond all known tenderness,
In one vessel, joined as one in seclusion,
I wish to enter the realm of emptiness

With you, lesser death, presence of nothingness…


Tatul Sonentz-Papazian

Tatul Sonentz-Papazian

Tatul Sonentz-Papazian is the former editor of the Armenian Review and director of the ARF and First Republic of Armenia Archives, based in Watertown, Mass. He has been a contributor to the Armenian Weekly for over 50 years. He currently directs the Publications Department of the Armenian Relief Society.
Tatul Sonentz-Papazian

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