The evening included Poetry Readings in English and Armenian.
Phil Meters, Ph.D., Poet
I'll Not Cry "Alas" Sayat-Nova (1712-1795) Translation by Aram Tokgian
I'll not cry "alas" to all this world so long as you're the soul of my life. You are my golden goblet, brimming with immortal water. When I sit down, you are my shade, you are my gilded canopy, Discover in what I'm blameworthy, then put me to death-you are
both my sultan and khan.
Your waist is slim as a cypress, your color is French satin, Your tongue is sweet, your lips are pink candy, and your teeth
are pearls, Your eyes shine as polished bowls, polished and worked in gold, Wondrous, priceless gem, you are the very ruby of Badeshkhan.
This suffering-how am I to endure it? Do you think my heart is stone?
You have made my tears bloody with pain, you have brought me to the edge.
Yet you are a garden circled with roses.
Would that I could perch near you, like a nightingale-you are lovely
Loving you has made me mad-I am awake, but my heart is dreaming; Though the world is content with the world, my heart still longs
Dear one, in what other way can I praise you-there's nothing else in
the world left for me to do? You are brilliant as a winged horse of fire, my gazelle leapt up
from the sea.
Since you are the one Sayat-Nova loves, why not speak to him
Your radiance shadows all the world, you are splendid as the sun. You are cardamom, rose, carnation, violet and susumber, You are my lily of the valley, a rose-tinted flower of the field.
Berj Shakarian leads the audience in applause
Words For My Child Silva Kaputikyan (1919-2006) Translation by Diana Der Hovanessian
With this sweet spring of melting brooks and waking buds and birds my little son begins to speak
his first Armenian words softening the air with ancient speech
rejuvenated on his tongue
like communion blessing us,
his first words have sprung.
I pass along to him,
holy jewels of our race,
fashioned by light of old stars,
syllables that mark our place.
like Haig's arrow
fixing through time
shaped by St. Mesrob's art
into script and history
making light of dark,
kept as balm to heal
the exile's wounded heart,
cheers the soldier
on the field; and joins those torn apart.
This language my mother sang
in lullabies to roe
has reached, my son, to you.
Keep it refreshed, made new.
Protect it as you'd protect me
from any cut or wrong.
Keep it my son. Forget your mother
before forgetting your mother tongue.
Dr. Rafi Avitsian
Of My Motherland Armenia Yeghishe Charents (1897-1937) Translation by Armine Grigoryan
Of my motherland Armenia, its sun-soaked word I adore,
Of our old, mourning saz, the deep, moving string I adore,
The radiant scent of blood-red roses and sun-dipped flowers I adore,
And the humble, graceful dance of women of Nairi 1 adore.
I love our sky - deep blue and high, the waters - clear, and the lucent lake,
The sun in summer, and the winter's ferocious frost outbreak,
The black, dreary walls of the old huts - drowned in the dark,
And the thousand-year-old, tattered stones of the ancient cities I adore.
Never will I ever forget the mournful tunes of our songs, Will not forget the iron-script books that have become prayers long, However deep my heart is hurt by our blood-drained wounds of fate, Still, time and again, though orphaned, weak, but my Armenia I adore.
For my homesick, yearning soul there is no better tale told, Than Narekatsi's and Kuchak's, there are no brighter shining thoughts. Cross-pass the world, yet Ararat is the whitest peak to be sought, As an everlasting walk to fame, my Mount Masis I adore!
Lined Up in the Sky Shushanik Kurghinian (1876-1927) Translation by Shushan Avagyan
Lined up in the sky, the cranes come and go in rows; where shall I look for a homeland in the spring? Which heartache shall I weep and mourn?
Oh cranes, do you have any news from my home, from my sisters? Do you have a greeting for my pilgrim heart from our sublime native highlands?
One day I left on a journey, too, passing mountains, valley and sea, arriving in this foreign land with a heart full of hope.
But this ache for my homeland throttled all my dreams and hopes. Oh cranes, my heart is in despair, these eyes never dried.
Oh cranes, you are going far, wherever it is spring, there you are. Dear cranes, where shall I go? My wounds unhealed, my sorrow so deep.
Debbie Bashian with Deacon Serop and Louise Demirjian