The Path Through the Mountains

Musa Dagh, 2019 (Photo: Elise Youssoufian)

When you’re ready, keep it steady.
The road will rise to meet you.
The wind, it will surprise you,
When you’re ready.

How could any moment
Hold more beauty and torment
Than this tender weaving?
No, you’re not done grieving.
But nowhere—nowhere—
Is the grass greener.

When you’re lonely, keep it clean.
Any mess you need will find you.
Any mess you make will guide you.
The only thing left to pack
Is your surrender.
Total, absolute,
Like a moving sale.
No, not moving.
Going out of business.
Leaving nothing—nothing—
for the way back.

Are you ready?

Slip up, fall down, tumble into and through.
Yes, mountains and rivers may block your way,
But do not waver.
Don’t be confused.

The hardest climb is only an impasse
When you forget you’ve already been there.

Author’s Note:  This poem began nearly one year ago, while preparing for a return to Armenia and ancestral places within the bounds of Turkey. Systemic and viral pandemics brought a long pause and many pivots for us all, as seasons come and go…for some, permanently. May each night and day onward bend our world closer to beauty, growth and healing—a world in which peace and justice can co-exist, and the last words uttered are of creation.

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 resistance 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

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