Sunday, 10 January 2016

Another Poem by Shushanik Kurghinian

Although this poem was not written during the period of the First World War, it has a very powerful message that is still valid today.   As Shushan Avagyan has kindly sent me her translations of several poems written by Shushanik Kurghinian, I thought I would share some of them with you.

I Want to Live

S. Kurghinian, 1907

I want to live, but not a lavish life

trapped in obscurity, unconcern, foolishness,

nor an outright hostage of beauty aids

as a frail creature, delicate and feeble

but equal to you, oh men, prosperous

as you are powerful and headstrong,

fit against calamities, ingenious in mind

and bodies full of fervor.


I want to love, unreserved, without a mask

autonomous like you, so that when in love

I can sing my feelings to the world

and unchain my heart a woman’s heart

before the crowds . . . ignoring their stern

judgements with my shield and destroy

their prickly arrows aimed at me

with all my vigor unrestrained!


I want to act, equal, next to you,

as a loyal member of the people,

let me suffer over and again, night or day,

wandering from one place to another,

always struggling for the ideal

of freedom . . . And let this burden

torment me even in my exile

only to gain a purpose in this life.


I want to eat, comfortably as you do,

from that same fair bread, for which

I gave my share of holy work;

in the struggle for existence, humble and meek,

without feeling humiliated, let me

shed sweat-and-tears for a blessed earning,

let scarlet blood flow from my worker’s hands

and let my back tire in pain!


I want to fight, first as your rival,

standing against you with an old vengeance,

that absurdly and without mercy you

turned me into a vassal through love and force.

Then after clearing these issues of my sex

I want to fight against the agonies of life

courageously like you, holding your hand,

facing together this strife of being or not . . .