Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Part I: Path of the ancients

Ani, Turkey, 2000

Ruin with border watchtower, Ani, Turkey, 2000

Ani, Turkey, 2000

Inside the Cathedral, Ani, Turkey, 2000

Ani, Turkey, 2002

Akhtamar island, Turkey, 2000

Stone Carved With Crosses
Vahagn Davtian

In the thorns,
in the rocks,
in the wind,
in the storms,
through the snows
through the scorch
alone and modest
against the sky
against the sun
a pillar of grief
a column of conscience
against time
like beauty

Lake Sevan and Akhtamar island, Turkey, 2000

Akhtamar island, Turkey, 2000


Hovhannes Toumanian

Beside the laughing lake of Van
A little hamlet lies;
Each night into the waves a man
Leaps under darkened skies.

He cleaves the waves with mightly arm,
Needing no raft or boat,
And swims, disdaining risk and harm,
Towards the isle remote.

On the dark island burns so bright
A piercing, luring ray:
There's lit a beacon every night
To guide him on his way.

Upon the island is that fire
Lit by Tamar the fair;
Who waits, all burning with desire,
Beneath the shelter there.

The tide-waves ripple, lisp and splash
And murmur, soft and low;
They urge each other, mingle, clash,
As, ebbing out, they go.

But certain villains, full of spite,
Against them did conspire,
And on a hellish, mirky night
Put out the guiding fire.

The luckless lover lost his way,
And only from afar
The wind is carrying in his sway
The moans of:"Ah, Tamar!"

The words fly forward-faint they are-
"Ah, Tamar!"
And in the morn the splashing tide
The hapless yough cast out,

Who,battling with the waters, died
In an unequal bout;
Cold lips are clenched, two words they bar:
"Ah, Tamar!"

And ever since, both near and far,
They call the island Akhtamar.

Akhtamar church, Turkey, 2000

Ancient graffitti, Akhtamar, Turkey, 2000

Akhtamar church, Turkey, 2000

Church interior, Akhtamar, Turkey, 2000

"The main [church] site was marked with a circular base of gold on which rested a column of fire and a capital of cloud, surmounted by a cross of light. The sites for the martyr's chapels were marked with red bases, columns of clouds, capitals of fire, and crosses of light; these columns were lower than the column of light. Above everything stood four crosses, vaults fitted into each other. The whole construction was surmounted by a wonderful canopied construction of cloud in the form of a dome". (St Gregorios the Illuminator's vision)

Church interior, Akhtamar, Turkey, 2000

Ruins of the Old Town, Van, Turkey, 2000

Lonely tree, Eastern Turkey, 2000

Sunset over Anatolia, Eastern Turkey, 2000

The Armenian grief
Hovhannes Toumanian

The Armenian grief is a boundless sea,
An immense, dark sea,
In pain, in that black water,
My soul swims aimlessly.

Now it rises up with fury
Toward the clear sky above,
And tired now, it plunges
To the endless depths.

Wine is not unendingly deep
Nor can it raise me as far as the sky…
In the vast sea of Armenian sorrow
My tired soul moves, always in grief.


almariada said...

today I translated Hovhannes Toumanian's poem Akhtamar from English to Portuguese and the best photo I could find for the post is yours. I hope you don't mind... There is a link to your blog post in the word "AhTamar". Thank you very much.
I wish you the best.

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