Yeghishé Charents. Selected Poems


My sweet Armenia’s sun-flavored word that always chimes and rings—I love;

Our ancient lyre’s melody, its wretched weeping strings—I love;

The fragrance of the blood-like flowers, the way the fiery roses smell;

The graceful dance of Nayirian girls, their sweet angelic wings—I love.

I love our heavens overcast, our waters pure, our lakes so bright;

The summer sun, the dragon-voiced snowstorms in a wintry night;

The black-walled huts lost in the dark, their unfriendly cheerless sight;

The rock-hard stones of ancient cities, their mysterious pride—I love.

Wherever I am I can’t forget our mournful tunes and melodies,

Our steel-lettered sacred books turned into silent prayers and pleas;

However sharp they pierce my heart, however deep my wounds may bleed,

Even though orphaned and blood-bright, my sweet Armenia-bride—I love.

There is no other pleasing tale or story for my longing heart;

The haloed foreheads of Narek* , Kouchak** — there is no higher art;

There is no summit as snow-white as that of lofty Ararat;

Like a distant path to glory—that mount, my timeless guide—I love!



I am sending you my book,

O my reader, today;

It's up to you to read

Or throw it away.

I have written in this book

Such lines (as I know it)

You can never find

In another poet.

So judge with your heart

If they're bad or good:

When your heart is the critic,

I'm not misunderstood.



Invisible quests—they come in quietude,

Wrapped up in silence and speechless again.

They arrive to live and silently depart;

We neither open nor shut a door to them.

Well, they have no name, no shadow, no voice;

Silently they come and silently they go,

While we never learn in this doorless world

The reason why they came, the reason why it’s so.

It’s only when some ubiquitous sadness

Spreads out its wings to open a door

That we begin to feel with a longing heart

Someone has just left—to come back no more.



Sister, it could be

We do not exist;

Someone (who?) has dreamed us

In a murky mist.

It did seem we were

Two—just you and me;

Something has changed,

We’ve become—three.

Now we both, together,

Are calling the third,

Looking for a Home

Like a wounded bird.

No bridge—just troubled waters.

We fumble in a smother;

Looking for the third

We’re looking for each other.



What’s bad turns out to be so good,

Routine becomes a magic dream—

I am in love with all the hues,

The distant star, the sunny beam.

All the wanderer’s feckless songs,

The town, the carriages, the street,

Turn into abstract phantasies

A poet’s heart has longed to meet.

Each time I kiss a woman’s lips

That to thousands have been lent,

I do believe they’re undefiled—

A virgin’s lips so innocent.

Who can read a poet’s way?

Who has fathomed him so far

When his winged and cosmic heart

Soars above the farthest star?

Who can know the reason why

A woman’s rotten lips he kisses,

While he’s praying to the shadow

Of a distant love he misses?

Who will listen to his sadness,

To his madness and his prayer

When in deathbed he says smiling:

Life! How wonderful you were!



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