Stone Carved With Crosses
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
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-
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:
And ever since, both near and far,
They call the island Akhtamar.
Sunset over Anatolia, Eastern Turkey, 2000
The Armenian grief
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.