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 . . .