Letter to Yerevan (Part VII)
Hopes blossomed… a sliver of azure…
Hoff and Westeneng… Reforms…
A tiny bit of blue—
A dusty stack of treaties
On minds and hearts.
A hive of hopes in every soul.
And in all veins a festive flame—
Soon wedding bells and laughter,
Arid deserts turning to meadows,
And old moans into love’s dulcet melody…
A sliver of blue… Hope becomes
A blooming rosebush in the midst of winter…
A bit of azure…and in the midst of it,
How? In such haste…
Oh, how could it?
The sudden lightning of the Great Crime?
Remember, Abov? It was war again!
Ravenous flames were licking the world.
Death had once more kicked life in the teeth
And men’s hearts had turned to stone.
Armies against armies all over again,
Once more a mad rush towards violence,
While the treacherous foe on our land
Had set a horrendous, stealthy snare,
Herding us to a deep, gaping grave…
And ceaseless, endless caravans,
Horror and scimitar across deserts,
Cities full of life razed to the ground
And along all roads, hills made of skulls…
The mobs howled ravenous, incensed
And on their dark, felonious souls,
Like a dense blanket of darkness,
Spread the corrupt conscience of mankind…
Do you recall, Abov—there was a day,
Of all bygone and future days,
A day that stood apart?
It was in April, fields covered in flowers,
And in a distant place, on the banks of a river,
There was a red bath of blood…
There was a day,
And in the hot Arabian desert
There was Ras-el-Ayn, there was Deir-Zor.
Do you recall, Abov?
There was Deir-Zor…
Do you recall, Abov?
There was a dark, heinous day,
Our people, slaughtered as sheep,
And once more, together,
Downcast and meek,
To embrace all the hounds?
Oh, Gevorg Abov,
That from our degraded, sullied foreheads
With the holy flame of vengeance
Burned off the vile shame of serfdom…
Glory to the dogs.
Those who vanquished death with death
And before death, as eternal brand of dishonor,
Seared on the forehand of the foe
With burning blood,
That death is the same everywhere,
That man dies only once, and
That blessed are those, a thousand times,
Who die for their motherland…
And more honor and glory to the dogs,
From Vaspurakan to Musa Ler.
On to Urfa and Karahisar,
From Chork Marzban to the Taurus Mountains,
Glory to our past, our present,
And all our dogs to come…
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.