Letter to Yerevan (Part II)
Behold, I am that wind-blown
Fragment that drifts from
Shore to shore—
The one pacing these dark, dank sidewalks,
Gritting my teeth to bear the pain in my heart
As my mind staggers seared by your song,
Oh, Gevorg Abov…
You have evoked me from the Homeland
And written a letter with cutting words,
And laced the words with fire
And the fire with poison and hemlock
And you say to me,
“I have not forgotten you”.
You wanted to stage a Mass
On the sacrificial altar of the Homeland,
You wanted to offer it
Your red blood,
Now, the Homeland offers you
Poison and hemlock.
It has not forgotten you, nor shall it ever,
And it will hound you with merciless spite,
Until beneath our bright sun
Your memory fades with no trace…
I do not hate you, nor do I curse you.
With its crazy, babbling song,
My sore, yearning soul
Bears no spite, nor rancor towards you,
Oh, Gevork Abov—
I have, instead, nameless anguish and pain,
Like the throb of a scorpion’s sting…
And I keep asking myself,
Is it possible? Has it happened,
That the fire scorched Fedayee—
So ruthless against all evil,
So protective of the weak—
Our Jan Fedayee,
So affectionate towards his kin,
Can be so wicked, so inhuman,
So very vile?
When has it happened,
That they made the Armenian peasant kneel
And fired their Mauser
Into his heart?
When has this heinous act taken place?
When has Armenian massacred Armenian,
Or thirsted for the blood of his very own?
Is this hallucination, or a dark joke?
Or, a piece of legend made of slime and turd
Fished from the murky bottom of history…
What Armenian has ever slain one of his own?
Oh, Gevork Abov…
If during dark days,
During stormy, black days,
In besotting Babylonian chaos,
A stray bullet was mindlessly fired
And aimlessly hit an Armenian…
If an enraged, famished Haiduk,
Turned into a fierce bandit
In the throes of bestial fury
Fired a shot at one of his own
And stole his last bite
To satisfy his harrowing hunger
At long last—
Or, if in the churning waves
Of the savage sea of revolution
In a struggle of life and death
A battled raged between brothers—
Ever so mournful…
Why would you remind us of such waste?
Of decades-old battles
So mindless, so evil and sad?
And summon your faraway, drifting brethren
To new bloodshed…
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.