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Letter to Yerevan (Part IV)

Letter to Yerevan (Part IV)

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

Are those dogs? And was he a dog,
The proud fedayee, embracing a cold weapon
Instead of his beloved—epitome of protest,
And full of grief, anger and vengeance,
Engaged in unequal combat
Against a base, blood-thirsty sultan,
Against tsar, all manner of khans
And all, all kinds of tyrants?

Are they dogs? And was he a dog,
Turned into nightmare amidst nightmares,
The iron spirit of the ravines of Sasun?
Was he really a dog,
Woeful Hrair, pillar of lofty ideal?
And was he, perhaps a dog, that tower,
Burst in flames by bombs, poor Babken Suni,
Or, a true martyr cremated
On freedom’s altar?

Օh, were they dogs? Were they?
Gevorg the lion, the towering Serob,
The elderly Makar, a breathing parchment…
Oh, was Murat, on his steed, a dog?
Stern Rostom, solid as an oak…
And Christapor, dynamite of justice…
Was Zavarian—spotless as light—a dog?
Or, Christ incarnate on this earth?

And the vast legendary legion
Of our modest, nameless haiduks,
Dragged through oceans of sorrow
On mountain slopes and dark ravines,
Their remains, all left unburied…
On the grim heights of gallows
And in the mute depths of horror’s dungeons
The myriads of victims
And those hallowed martyrs
Down the abyss of Armenia’s history,
Were they all dogs of that pack?

***

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

Read Part II

Read Part III

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