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.

Part II: Armenia

Mount Ararat (Massis), 2008

Ah, this Massis
Gevorg Emin

Which mellows all hearts
Through itself a rock;

Which warms stray hearts
When itself is cold;

Which brings all dispersed
Armenians home,
When itself is not here;

Preaches the sermon of unity
To the world-scattered homeless Armenians,
When itself is split in two;

Which like great love,
Neither drifts away
Nor draws near,

Ah, this Massis.

Hawk over Geghard fortress, 2002

Sevan monastery, 2008

Priest and girls, Sevan monastery, 2002

Storm over Lake Sevan, 2002

Thistles in the fog, Goris, 2008

Sisian range, 2008

Yeghishe Charents

Snow-wrapped mountains and blue lakes,
Skies like dreams of the soul,
Skies like children's eyes.
I was alone. You were with me.

When I heard the whispers of the lake,
And looked unceasingly into the distance,
There rose in me that old longing
For you, that dream, holy, star-filled, infinite.

In the clear evocative sunset
I called, called to the snow covered mountains;
Night fell, darkening the distance,
Mingling my soul with the starry dark.

Sisian reservoir, 2008

Gumri region, 2008

Abandoned fun park, Sevan region, 2008

Noravank monastery, 2008

Check-post dinner, Sisian, 2006

Boy from the block, Yerevan, 2002

Girl in the crowd, Yerevan, 2002

Hasmik the waitress, Noravank, 2002

Never Love Black Eyes
Avetik Isahakian

Never trust black eyes.
Be wary. Be warned.
Their darkness is a deep,
endless night.

Never love black eyes
where demons can hide.
Just look in I my heart
and see why.

It is a sea of pains
that proves
what turmoil
black eyes can start.


Waitresses, Yerevan, 2002

Street musician, Yerevan, 2006

Schoolgirl with alphabet, Areni region, 2002

The Armenian Language
Moushegh Ishkhan

The Armenian language is the home
and haven where the wanderer can own
roof and wall and nourishment.
He can enter to find love and pride,
locking the hyena and the storm outside.
For centuries its architects have toiled
to give its ceilings height.
How many peasants working
day and night have kept
its cupboards full, lamps lit, ovens hot.
Always rejuvenated, always old, it lasts
century to century on the path
where every Armenian can find it when he's lost
in the wilderness of his future, or his past.

Geghard monastery, 2006

Prayer for the New Year
Missak Medzarents

Give me, my God, that kind of happiness
that has no self. Let me gather it like flowers
in other people's eyes.

Give me, oh Lord, an impersonal joy
which like a child's sparkler tints
the onlooker's face.

Give me, oh Lord, an impersonal joy
to hang like ribbons braided with bells
on each door I pass.

Let me build altars out of words
of those I love and echo them
like cymbals of brass.

Geghard monastery, 2006

Geghard monastery, 2002

Geghard monastery, 2006

Deacon, Etchmiadzin, 2002

Woodcutter, Odzun, 2002

Chapel, Sanahin monastery, 2002

Writing on the wall, Sanahin monastery, 2002

Kotayk, 2008

Khor Virap, 2002

Succession of Generations
Paruyr Sevak

Every generation
first of all thinks in silence
and then as soon as talking begins
angers the elders,
angers them but without intended malice,
for the young do not understand
and the elders always understand.

Elder God,
is it true that he who understands and
he who doubts
are synonymous
and every generation
dies by doubting?

Goris, 2008

Churchwarden, Zvartnots, 2002

Dancer, Garni, 2006

Noratuz, 2008

Noratuz, 2008

Yerevan, 2008

Genocide Memorial, Yerevan, 2002

Vahan Tekeyan
translated by Diana Der Hovanessian and Marzbed Margossian

Forgetting. Yes, I will forget it all.
One after the other. The roads I crossed.
The roads I did not. Everything that happened.
And everything that did not.

I am not going to transport anymore,
nor drag the silent past, or that "me"
who was more beautiful and bigger
that I could ever be.

I will shake off the weights
thickening my mind and sight,
and let my heart see the sun as it dies.

Let a new morning's light open my closed eyes.
Death, is that you here? Good Morning.
Or should I say Good Dark?