Letter to Yerevan (Part VIII)
Do you recall, Abov? There was a rout elsewhere
And petrified panic of disintegration;
A riotous retreat, like a spooked and soused herd,
Of all the Russian conscripts;
Lenin had heralded his call—Homeward!
Greetings to the suffering land and men!
Greetings to the foe! Hail to the vanquished!
Greetings to all and a rush towards home…
Do you recall, Abov?
The same bloody-snouted monster
Was returning with sharpened fangs,
With a sweeping ultimate onslaught
To deliver the last blow to the last remnants…
Has there ever been throughout the ages
A darker, hopeless cataclysmic time,
When the bleeding moribund heart
Of the Armenian realm,
Hanging at the rim of eternity’s chasm,
Ceased to beat for an instant?
Do you recall, Abov? The sky was frozen,
There was no benevolent god to be found,
And our fallen land, a mere living corpse,
Faced the hyena’s wide open mouth…
While in the useless register of fate
A merciless hand
Had already marked a full stop…
The sky was frozen and there was no God…
But lo and behold! Myth or miracle?
A man took a stand!
A fugitive from miracle, a miraculous man.
He stood up in our Ararat Plain,
Amidst corpses and crows,
And using faith as a shield of steel,
And love of country as a clarion to combat,
Forged an army
Of terrified men in despair,
And like a red-hot hammer,
Smote the vile forehead of the foe…
Do you recall, Abov, how they lived,
The last descendants of the Armenian realm,
When there was no God, and heaven was wicked?
Do you recall anew,
Haik—who challenged the fearsome Bel—
And his grandson?
Was he Haik’s grandson? An issue of Vardan?
Was he the young David?
A specter born of Armenia’s mountains?
Do you recall his radiant forehead?
The everlasting name—
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.