Artsakh’s Song

The Gandzasar Monastery in Martagert, 2019 (Photo provided by the author)


(i)

In the quiet, between bombs, there is a sound,
A hum,
My heart still beats.
One day, soon, I will return.
What is an hour, a night, a year,
But a heart keeping time?
One day, soon. Keep singing your song.
Come close, my twin, let me see in your eyes
The lamp lighting us onward,
The fire no one can put out.

 

(ii)

breathe in
I must
remember We live
I must
breathe out
I must
trust
Earth to hold Us

I must 

not

fall through the floor giving way
into soul wounds rebleeding. Akh…

We will not all
fall like young trees cut down ‘fore
their time. keep breathing. Akh…

I must not remember.

I must not forget.
We are not the river
of kin piled high,
waters running red. We are
more than this. Akh…

I must not remember.

We must not forget.
Look up, step back, walk past river of time,
See Hye peaks cloud-dancing with cerulean sky,
Singing swallows below, warmed by sun, thrive,
Our true stories honeycomb, our bees sting the lies.

I will remember.

We will not forget.
Our hearts flooding with torrents of ancestral soul force.
We will not swim away songless. War is changing our course.
The world crumbles inside and recovers once more.
Do you hear it too? …the unstoppable unlatching of Mher’s door.

Author’s Note: Dedicated to all those who are fighting daily for peace and all those who await the return of beloveds from the front lines. May we stay in light, and may lasting peace come home soon.

Editor’s Note, October 21: In the past week as these poems were forming, an emergent and global initiative of artists was also taking shape. At Art for Artsakh, visitors will find a growing interdisciplinary community of artists, including the author, who are donating all proceeds from the sales of their works to the Armenia Fund, supporting humanitarian aid for the people of Artsakh.

Elise Youssoufian

Elise Youssoufian

Elise Youssoufian is a transrevolutionary poet, artist, activist and board-certified therapeutic musician, whose biophilic works are rooted in cultural recovery—via Armenian folk music, folklore, needlework and language studies in the US and in Armenia—and collective and intergenerational trauma healing as a student of global pioneers in the field. An MFA candidate at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, Elise is weaving together divine-feminist praxis, ancestral radiance and indigenous resilience in response to the systematic and unrepaired eradication of Armenian cultures and communities within and beyond Musa Ler, Aintab and Nakhichevan, into and through a forthcoming textile-and-poetry project, "Three Trees and Ten Thousand Stones."
Elise Youssoufian

Latest posts by Elise Youssoufian (see all)

2 Comments

    • Thank you kindly, Krikor. I keep circling back to that line with the bees…and the vision of Mher’s door. Bee well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*