Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Armenian Radio on WJCU!--Talking Vahan Tekeyan and the Armenian Genocide

On Sunday, I had the opportunity of joining Raz Pounardjian and the other hosts of the Armenian Radio Show on WJCU 88.7, to talk about Armenian poet Vahan Tekeyan, and his remarkable poems. A while back, I posted on his poem, "The Forgetting," a poem that captures the double-edged sword of remembering, which we discussed in earnest in relationship to the genocide. That poem poses forgetting as a kind of death, and death, perhaps, as a kind of forgetting.

We talked as well about his poem, "Prayer on the Threshold of Tomorrow," a beautiful counterpoint to the darkness of "The Forgetting," that contains the lines: "Lord, now is the time to send/your wisdom and kindness/to the tortured who, although/ they have forgotten, need you as they hurl/ themselves closer to the precipice." I ended up by reading Mahmoud Darwish's poem, "We Travel Like Other People," a poem consonant with the realities of exile and dispossession faced by Armenians and Palestinians alike, which contains the phrase, "we have a country of words."

Here's another poem that I read online:

To God

Whatever the gift, I gave back.
Here, God, it is yours.
The seeds you gave I planted
under the pillow of my crib
and the harvest grows from by palms.

How meager it is. How small.
If I open my fist no one sees it at all.
Or perhaps can only see dust and sense
a vague, fragrance, the wind can sweep.

Some never blossomed and some
seeds grew and were festooned
into wreaths and rings
that fade this autumn.

It is my fault, mine alone,
if I do not harvest again
to fill the other side
of the abundance you provide
with more than pain and regret.

But if this is all,
with more than pain and regret.

And, finally, if you have not had enough talk of memory, a BBC special on the genocide.

1 comment:

RazRocks said...

Great post. I hope more people will read your blog. I hope that you will continue to contribute to our show. My Armenian School Teacher was very impressed with your interpretations. Thank you again!