I am sitting at the shore of Kınalı*.
The Marmara Sea opens—serene and blue—
I fling a rock into the sea.
I pitch the rock—rings float on the Marmara—
I pitch the rock—new rings form
And link with the old.
One side of the loop faces me—the other extends
To the far away horizon.
I cling tightly onto the sun-kissed arch,
Which spreads in rows,
And since I need no passport, no ticket, no visa,
I set off from Marmara, valiantly.
I pass through the Aegean, the Mediterranean, even the Atlantic with spirit—
I go all the way to Canada.
Those who look on ignorantly believe
That I am sitting under the burning sun of Kınalı’s shore.
I wander the streets of Montreal with you
Yearning for the months and years.
I tell you—and then you tell me—
About the days of old and the days of new and the days to come
With enthusiasm about today and tomorrow.
The winds blow and the Marmara rises, wave by wave
And crash the sands and stones on Kınalı’s shore,
And a bead of water—cold and salty like the tears of separation—
Falls upon my cheek—and I, startled, wake from my dreams
And my heart bleeds, in silence.
Zahrad (Zareh Yaldizciyan)
Bari yerkink («Բարի երկինք»), 1971
Translated by Rupen Janbazian, 2018
* Kınalı (or Kınalıada) is the fourth largest of Istanbul’s Princes’ Islands. Kınalı has the highest density of Armenians living anywhere in Istanbul, albeit mainly in summer homes. During the summer, approximately 90 percent of the population on the island is Armenian. Several well-known Armenians have lived on the islands, including Zahrad and Zabel Sibil Asadour.