Saturday, November 18, 2006

Violet Grigoryan: Love (translation)

Love, by Violet Grigoryan

Translated by Margarit Tadevosyan Ordukhanyan

Here is the body surrendered to love,
here is the blood running through brazen
rejoice, it’s a holiday!
Tonight is a celebration, my body’s Sunday
I have spread my womanhood, saved for a
precious guest, for my lover.
Go ahead, take it, enjoy it already.
see, my darling, how my father’s daughter
treats you.
Kiss me and…
you’ll never grow old,
kiss me and…
you’ll never get sick,
kiss me and…
you’ll never die.
The love-bed cures everything, doesn’t it?
It makes the blind see the writhing of passion,
it makes the mute speak with the drum of his
the lame rises and walks the valleys of the
and a kiss will awaken the beauty from her
Kiss me and…
I’ll never die.
See how the moths and rust have gnawed at
the piles of my hidden treasures,
my lovely clothes, my sparkling jewellery, my
erudite books.
And the thieves have gotten in through the
wall and stolen my money.
But your kiss will never get rusty,
your kiss will break through the Chinese wall
of my anguish.
I’ll bring my mouth close to yours,
I’ll cover you with my lips,
And my inquisitive tongue will search your
entire body
to seek, find, and savor the beehive honey.
Oh, how luscious and sensual are the lips of
my love!
The tongue, with a mind of its own, plays a
tune on my teeth
adroitly, like on a piano’s white keys.
Mother, what should I do?
Should I surrender to love’s only innate promise?
Should I fondle it with my warm fingertips?
Should I tickle it with the moist roughness of
my tongue?
Should I stroke and caress the rigid stalk
and accept it into my love camp?
I got it for free and give it for free, this body of
that fell to my lot, that I won
in an earthly lottery.
Unlock my property with your middle finger,
strip the words of their weightless clothes,
enter my boat with a naked heart, and
drop your anchor in the bay of my body…
I will rinse you with my inner waters
And bless you with the chrism of my hot
I’ve already baptized you into my following.
The foxes always have burrows,
all the birds of the sky – their nests,
my body and I are your burrow and nest
come live inside me, my love,
your body weighs light and sweet on me.
Climb on my bed, and, as if from a lectern,
orate with body syllables,
body conjugations,
body words,
body language,
recite the saga of love and passion’s campaigns,
ask, and you will receive
knock, and it will open;
the door may be narrow, the road may be hard
but, lo, the voice calls from the bed,
I’ve prepared this road for you
and smoothed out the paths…
So, drive your muscle-made carriage, govern
with a thin, leathern, thin, fine, thin strap
guide the untamed course of our passion,
brand my hips with your stamp,
plant your flag in me.
I am a wild river,
I am a tight cluster,
I am fragile air
Enter my stream
hide there inside me,
and inhale and exhale me,
and inhale and exhale me,
and inhale and exhale me,
and deeply inhale me, ah, now exhale,
ah, exhale…
How sweet it is to take you inside me, my love
coach, my brazen pillow-mate,
nobody better has ever been born of a woman…
Blessed is my belly that has shivered from the
touch of your tongue,
blessed are my nipples that have hardened
from the touch of your tongue,
blessed am I, the servant of the Lord, for I was
blessed among women…
Mom, don’t be angry,
see how healthy I am,
see how fit I’ve become from the training of
see, happy is my heart and jubilant my tongue,
my body lives with hope,
for I now dwell in the valley of love.
Whoever has eyes, let them see
this enchanting picture —
two intertwined bodies, prostrate on a sheet,
a woven bouquet, a lily in bloom,
an opening seashell, a sea-saw in swing.
Merry wind, my happy companion, rock my
my fearless sailor, my reckless adventurer,
rock my boat,
rock me, until I expire entirely,
until I finally run out on my own,
until I stop on my own,
rock me until I reach there — the NO PLACE
Oh, what ecstasy!
Guide me through the labyrinths of my body
like this, step by step, word by word,
detail by detail, pause by pause,
kisses and kisses, movement by movement,
kisses and kisses, sound by sound,
and kisses and kisses.
Take me and lead me over the threshold of my
take me to the house of rapture…
Like this, one more step, like this, one more
on a snow-white sheet, like snow-white paper,
the lines of two bodies spelling three words
“And it’s done!”
Here is the body surrendered to death.
Here is the blood that has faltered and stopped
Oh, what a desolate feast, what festive mourning,
and our hearts are aching inside us.
We cry,
because this is a wedding,
but the bridegroom is no longer with us
because this is a wedding,
but the guests are unworthy.
and we laugh,
for although the kernel has died,
it will grow millions of sprouts.
He took on our illnesses, drove away our
this Son of Man,
he raised us from the dead, ... but
he caught death through a human kiss.
Oh, carpenter’s child, oh, Mary’s son,
you thought yourself a catcher of humans,
but see how the humans have ensnared you in
Oh, see how the humans have ensnared you in
Until you ran yourself out,
Until you stopped yourself,
And now our hearts are burning within us.
We know that whoever does the will of your
heavenly father
is your brother and sister and mother.
And we weep here like mothers, mourn you
like sisters,
we bow our heads to our sorrows, like brothers.
woe is your mother, for she saw your head
hanging low on your chest,
woe is your sister, for she saw you tortured
and beaten,
woe is your brother, for he saw you mocked.
But we also mourn for ourselves.
We mourn and wail for our sons:
blessed are the barren mothers and wombs
that have never conceived,
woe to those pregnant and nursing.
smash us, tall cliffs,
green hills, cover us,
although, like you, we’ve tamed the wild winds
and high seas,
although, like you, we’ve walked on water,
cured the blind, made
the lame
and although we create human beings in our
image, in our likeness,
we give them the breath of life
our hearts still don’t rejoice,
our tongues don’t exult,
our bodies don’t fill with hope,
because we dwell in the valley of death,
and we are deprived of the joy of your presence…
No, we don’t look for you, the most living,
among the dead,
but how can we not mourn you and shed tears
over the body
in which we have seen you and loved you?
How can we comfort ourselves?
Many have touched and soothed us with a
virtual kiss,
but it is not the same as the comfort you offered;
Many have caressed and pitied us with a virtual
but it is not the same as the sympathy you gave
Oh, if you could only return in flesh, as our
and as our friend,
to touch and trust our bodies,
to touch our open wounds,
and kiss away the pain…
So how can we not mourn you and shed tears
over your body?
For you were the Savior!
oh, this head that was once anointed with the
ointment of nard
is now caked with dried blood,
these hands that once fed us fish and bread
and humbly washed our feet,
are pierced with nails,
And those eyes that once brought comfort to
our hearts and filled our souls with joy,
Are looking, blank, out there —
into the NO
The shackles of death have chained you to the
of your cold body —
for a three-day repose…
But soon you’ll rise up out of your ribcage,
you’ll break free,
while we remain here, condemned to our bodies,
to end with our bodies.
Though death may be our cheapest toy —
a two-penny blade, a seven-foot rope,
though we have temporarily frozen death,
stored the preserve of life in the fridge,
though we’re free to choose death,
we remain imprisoned forever within
the prisons of our bodies,
with loathsome worms as our mattress
and plump vermin as our blanket.
And when we see the cheap blade approaching,
we stammer, we pale, we shiver,
and inside us, our hearts sink,
and inside us, our thoughts get blurry
and inside us, our stomachs turn,
and inside us, our mouths go dry.
We run to our room, lock the doors,
hide inside
Before the blade we are barefoot and naked,
our asses are bare and
our necks
are bowed.
It’ll knot us into a knot, make a knot of us,
and toss us, like balls, over there — the NO
But you — step by step, but you — word by
detail by detail, pause by pause,
unflinchingly walked towards death,
stepped over the threshold and entered
the kingdom of your beloved father.
Our Savior!
Caress us like a mother, give us hope like a
and lead us by our hand, like a brother,
step-step, movement by movement,
step-step, sound by sound,
quickly, pull us out of the dark NO PLACE,
take us over that threshold,
get us to our father’s safe haven…
Like this, one more step, like this, one more
The last breath of air in the last spasm
throws itself through the lips into the eternal
“And it’s done!”

This translation has appeared in Emily Artinian’s artist’s book, “From Ararat to Angeltown”, 2005, offset lithography, edition of 250 copies.

This bilingual English/Armenian book contains newly translated works by six contemporary Armenian authors, all members of the avant garde literary group Bnagir, based in Yerevan, Armenia.

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