Saturday, October 27, 2007

Vahan Tekeyan's "Forgetting"/Remembering the Armenian Genocide

This poem is for Raz, which I found in Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness, edited by Carolyn Forche. Apparently, Tekeyan avoided the genocide because he happened to be in Jerusalem on a business trip. Yet the memory of what did not happen to him becomes the memory of what his people suffered--mass displacement and death. To forget means, at least in the span of this poem, to lose a sense of the future.

"Forgetting" by Vahan Tekeyan, translated by Diana Der Hovanessian and Marzbed Margossian

Forgetting. Yes, I will forget it all.
One after the other. The roads I crossed.
The roads I did not. Everything that happened.
And everything that did not.

I am not going to transport anymore,
nor drag the silent past, or that "me"
who was more beautiful and bigger
that I could ever be.

I will shake off the weights
thickening my mind and sight,
and let my heart see the sun as it dies.

Let a new morning's light open my closed eyes.
Death, is that you here? Good Morning.
Or should I say Good Dark?

2 comments:

RazRocks said...

Hey Dr. Metres,

Thank you for writing this blog for me. It really means a lot to me, and I appreciate the fact that you are discussing the topic of the Armenian Genocide. It takes much courage to do so, especially with the current events that have been surrounding House Resolution 106. I first learned about Vahan Tekeyan in Armenian School. I agree with your idea of forgetting the past means a loss in the sense of the future. Another theme I noticed in this poem is Tekeyan's love for not only his people, but for Armenia as well. He also seems to have an optomistic outlook concerning Armenia, especially in the third stanza when he says "
I will shake off the weights/
thickening my mind and sight,/
and let my heart see the sun as it dies." Tekeyan is often referred to as the " Prince of Armenian Poetry." When my Father went to school in Beuirut, the building he went to school was dedicated and named after Tekeyan. I really am honored that you did this blog for me, and I was wondering if sometime you would like to come on air to our Armenian Radio hour. It is on Sunday's from 5-7 P.M., and you could help give us some insights on this poem, and others if you wish. Hopefully more people will be enlightened on the Armenian Genocide. Again, thank you very much for doing this, and hopefully we can discuss more poetry.

-Raz

P.S.- Great job on Friday, you found a cure for your kryptonite!!

Philip Metres said...

Raz, that would be cool! It's always fun to talk poetry and politics all at the same time.