Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Jack Antreassian: Farewell


Will I see Yerevan again again
walk in the streets that intersect my past
inhale again the incense of dead ends

and hear the echo now receding fast 

the summons of ancestral pleas no more 
except perhaps by reveries possessed

no more however much I weep the door
between has rusted on its hinge I come
to you on knees turned red with blood and sore

but no one comes to me I wait in numb
expectancy invoking love and prayer
and worlds beyond your world if only some

could venture to this shore and with me dare 
beguile those wretched siblings joy despair


I see Armenia in my father's face
the age inscribed with twisted squirming lines
beneath a thin veneer of stoic grace

a smile not certain it should smile benign 
curved in a wistful arc small flecks of fear 
flawed diamonds out of place a crude design

of frayed illusions to redeem the cheer-
less image of a world not his but rude 
alternative to death the hymns he hears

are anthems of the dispossessed imbued 
with vestiges of faith the resonance 
an echo of a past aspersed pursued

by wilful demons taunting his laments 
forever victim of his innocence.


Others prevail who revel in their pride 
indulging fantasies of eminence 
insensitive to time's recessive tide

the brawling scavengers of violence 
who for their tribal glory sacrifice 
what lingers yet of love and innocence

heralds of genocide quick to devise 
a righteous warrant for a filial curse 
insinuating virtue in their lies

so many have excelled among them first 
the Turks discerned that hell has its rewards 
but not for us the slaughtered and dispersed

who seek not death although by death restored 
better to bare the neck than wield their sword.

Jack Antreassian, Armenia: Reflections in Verse, Ashod Press, New York, 1986.

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