Poem: Hudavendigar

From the Armenian Weekly 2017 Magazine Dedicated to the 102nd Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide


Beloved city!

So much green everywhere,

So much history.

The mosques, the churches, the temples, the bedestens

Beloved Hudavendigar!


Some were leaving their homes to go to the hamam;

Others were shopping at Koza Han, buying silk and gold.

Some women were busy taking care of silkworms;

Some men were in the printing house setting the weekly Armenian newspaper ready for publication.


Sarkis and Garabed were out on the street playing mischievously as usual.

Shakeh and Armine were at home helping their mother.

We were about to sit down to have a meal together,

Some dolma and tarhana soup.

The children would later go from house to house for Churpoteek…

People will douse them with water, it’s Vartavar.

They will get soaked, laugh, and have fun.


Where are they now?

O beloved Uludag, didn’t you see where they went?

Iznik, didn’t you realize people stopped fishing in your waters?

Where are the people of the villages?

People of Soloz or Keramet?

Why the silence?

You witnessed what happened.


Great grandma, great grandpa,

Where were you?

Didn’t you hear?

They sent your neighbors away.

Where did they go?

Where did they sleep?

Did they have enough to eat?

And their babies?

Are they alive?


Uludag you stand so tall and strong

Iznik your waters are so still

Say something!

Where are they?!


Now it’s just ghosts everywhere.

Villages, cities, lakes, and rivers are quiet.


Blood then, blood now.

Blood still running.

And beloved city


It remains in our dreams.


By Gaye Ozpinar

Gaye Ozpinar

Gaye Ozpinar

Gaye Ozpinar was born and raised in Bursa, Turkey. She studied political science at Brandeis University and obtained a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School. She has been practicing immigration law in Boston since 2006. Ozpinar has volunteered her legal services to assist many asylum seekers from around the world, including survivors of the Rwandan Genocide.
Gaye Ozpinar

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  1. Hudavendigar is the Turkish for the Persian word Khodavandegar meaning God the Creator .
    So many Turkish words in our Armenian language and so many Persian words copied and Turkisised by the Turks who had no proper vocabulary and alphabet until their migration from East Asia and Mongolia towards West , where they learned so much from Persians in Iran .

  2. Thank you for the beautiful poem. My father’s village was next to Iznik lake and across the same lake from Soloz. The children of the village of KERAMET referred to Vartavar as Churpoteek and would go from house to house getting doused with water and happily returning to their homes afterward. All of the Kerametzi women raised silk worms. For more about the village of KERAMET i recommend the book I wrote of my father’s life: “Deli Sarkis: The Scars He Carried.” We the descendants of the Kerametzis thank you Ms. Ozpinar for your heartfelt poem.

  3. Dear Mrs. Chestnut I read your book “Deli Sarkis: The Scars He Carried” before I wrote this poem. I was extremely touched and inspired by your father’s story. I had tried to contact you by sending you a message through the book’s website, but every time I tried the site failed. I had also written a note to the editor letting him know that I was inspired to write the poem after reading your book “Deli Sarkis” with the hopes of getting in touch.

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