sabato 2 febbraio 2013

Lullaby For Mother Armenia by Arshag Tchobanian


All naked at the crossroads thou dost sit.
The snow descends and clings along thine hair.
Dark wounds are in thy flesh; thine eyes have grown
As red as lakes of blood, in thy despair.
The ancient Mother thou, of age-long griefs;
Misfortune round thy heart its chain hath laid
In countless rings; black winds have smitten thee,
And heavy shadows on thy life have weighed.
What evil fairy spun thy thread of fate?
Who, seeing thee cast down and like to die,
Will call to mind that thou wast once a maid
Of mighty strength, with proud and radiant eye?
Thy tresses like a banner floated wide
On the free mountain where thy spirit fleet
Leaped, with exultant cry, from peak to peak;
Thy proud breast swelled with milk as honey sweet.
All brigands have desired thee; monstrous foes
Threw themselves on thee; long didst thou contend,
Long didst thou struggle, until, wearied out,
Thou didst sink down exhausted at the end.
And yet, amid destructive forces vast,
Thy soul was kind and fruitful in all worth.
Thou to the world didst add a flower of life;
Thy fingers drew forth beauty from the earth.
Mother of gold wast thou, with dazzling breasts,—
The Goddess Anahit, with peaceful eyes.
Wealth from thy bosom rained, rays from thy glance;
Thy lips were musical, thy hands were wise.
Barbarians bound thy hands, thy tender flesh
Tore and polluted; in those darksome days
Thou didst become the Mother blood-bestained,
With myriad wounds, and dragged through Calvary’s ways.
Yet thou wast beauteous, thou wast brave in pain!
In fetters, still thy soul did ardent burn.
Thou brokest many a formidable yoke,
And oft from death to life didst thou return.
Thine eyes were turned forever to the light;
Toward the new world its course thy spirit sped;
And thou stood’st firm for centuries, all alone,
Against the flood of Asia making head.
That torrent, growing greater and more fierce,
O’erthrew thee, quenched beneath its waves thy light.
Then wretched, panting, stretched upon the earth,
Yet living still, thou waitedst through the night.
Sometimes by night the crosses of old tombs
Stirred and were shaken; with an angry light
The genii of Mt. Ararat passed by;
From thy great lakes shot flashes red and bright.
The low sound of a drum-beat crossed the air,
And, trembling; to the mountain summit bold
Thou didst lift up thine eyes; then fell again
The heavy shadows and the silence cold.
Once, anguished, thou upstartedst; from thy lips
A cry of pain and of rebellion rushed;
But deaf the world remained; thine effort vain
’Neath the blind heel of brutal force was crushed.
’Mid fires of evil omen, monsters dire
Appeared, which burned thine heart, plucked out thine eyes.
Driven from thy home, thou on the ground didst fall
’Mid blood and ashes, ’neath the windy skies.
And now, a mournful shadow, thou dost sit
’Mid smoking ruins, desolate, oppressed.
Thy wounds are bitten by the wind; the blood
Falls drop by drop from thy discolored breast.
Slowly thou shak’st thy head, and shedding tears
Thou singest low and sweet a lullaby—
That of thy children fallen in their blood,
Or exiled, scattered, flung abroad to die;
The lullaby of youthful flames now quenched,
And eyes now darkened that were once so fair;
And that of those who live and suffer still,
In poverty, in dungeons, in despair.
Enough! Thy lullaby’s a chant of death!
Enough! We’ll sing thee a new lullaby—
A lullaby of hope and of revenge.
The dead will thrill with joy where low they lie.
Lift up thy head, weep not! Holy is grief,
And great and wholesome. Earth naught nobler knows
Than is the victim brave beneath his cross.
’Tis in the shadow that the dawn-light grows.
The black destroyers, the red torturers
Shall vanish—they like smoke shall disappear,
And from thine ashes thou shalt rise again,
Made young by suffering, radiant, bright and clear.
Weep not! No longer droop thy piteous head,
Nor let thine hair stream wild the winds among;
But know thyself, and gather up thy powers!
Thy strength has propped a stranger’s house too long.
Pale brothers who have fallen, sleep in peace!
Stretch thy great hands and bless us, Mother! Rise,
And may our blood dry up, and may our lives
Be for thine happiness a sacrifice!
Thou shalt come forth triumphant from these shades;
Stars shall thine eyes become, and sparkle bright;
Thy wounds to radiant roses shall be changed,
And from thy whitened hair shall spring forth light.
Thou at the opening of the ways shalt stand,
And break the bonds that held thee down in gloom.
O Mother, rise! thy pains were childbirth pangs;
It is a world that stirs within thy womb!