Testament (poem)


By  Yeghishe Charents

Translated by Tatul Sonentz
Watertown, MA 7 October 2010



Look!  A new light is ascending!
Who brought this sun to our world?


By  Yeghishe Charents

Translated by Tatul Sonentz
Watertown, MA 7 October 2010



Look!  A new light is ascending!
Who brought this sun to our world?

Gaze upon this golden star,
Arriving through fire,
Embracing the world, riding
Before dawn, steeds of porphyry,
Infusing light and ecstasy,
Giving to the new world and men
Lasting bliss and harmony.
And who turned on this restless light,
Opening the gates to the crimson blaze?
Tell me, what hand set the fire
To illuminate with flame-red flare and
Spirit?  Who set this diamond of a light
Glowing with such glare in a
Setting darkened with blight…?
 
By being a bearer of life’s stress,
Lowered to the depths of slavery –
Running stream of wisdom in an
Arid plain of insanity –
How many years and centuries,
In your long, long history,
Clinging to the bare truth
By sheer will, you bore witness…?
 
Is there no river cresting along the
Dark banks where our homeland was?
Clamoring against serfdom,
Ever flowing through endless time
Passing through hideous darkness,
It carried the seeds of this sunrise –
Simmering visions of distant dreams
Born on its waves for eons…
Under the burden of an existence
Singed by sorrow and strife, still
A spirit alive, a stream aflame,
Lighting a new crimson torch
And hailing the coming triumph…
 
Bygone embers are afire now,
Nothing dampens our radiant spirit,
Our shining star soars anew
Bright as this world ablaze…
Accept the sun – the only one
For ages to come – and beyond…
Always rising, always aloft,
Clearing the skies of all tarnish,
Beckoning us towards justice
Scrubbed of all blemish and grime…
It cautions us with fiery plumes,
Signaling us to stand firm…
Ever present, ever bright.
Let it always remain in sight.
 
Issued in fire and dazzling light,
Steady hands should hold these scales
Cradling the spirit of our insight,
Lest it fumbles, dropped by us
Into gaping, ghastly depths…
A great page from our past of import,
Stable and just as our people’s soul,
The sturdy mainstay of wisdom’s court.

2 comments
  1. Let us neither drop nor cover
    Let us neither drop nor cover this gem, the luminous wisdom from our ancestral past. May it remain our guiding light, as the doubly dark shadows cast by the Genocide and Soviet rule have not as yet dissipated. Thank you Mr. Sonentz for reminding us through your excellent translation.

  2. Charentz
    Sireli Tatul Sonentz

    I wish you had accompanied an article, along your masterful translation of Charents’ epic poem, about Charents during first RA and on, this poem, how the hidden message came to be known, the implication of its find. Not all the readers may know about Charents. I for one have rudimentary recollection dating my pre college schooling decades ago.  It would have been a wonderful addition to Keghart as we traditionally celebrate Armenian culture during the month of October . Not too late for sure!

    Thank you .

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