Is This Cher?
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An Armenian Poet

268x180_thumb_photo_60136_87fdf30efI'm reading an anthology of Middle-Eastern and Asian poets and I came across a poem by this fellow here, Barouyr Sevag, whose last name does not rhyme with Armenian as I am accustomed to.

But anyway, not only was he an Armenian poet but his deciphering of a type of unending yearning reminded me for some reason of Cher...

The Analysis of Yearning (Garod)

I know the dark need, the yearning, the want,
in the same way the blind man knows
the inside of his old home.

I don't see my own movements
and the objects hide.
But without error or stumbling
I maneuver among them,
live among them,
move like the self-winding clock
which even after losing its hands
keeps ticking and turning
but shows neither minute nor hour.

And dangling between darkness and loneliness
I want to analyze this want
like a chemist
to understand its nature and profound mystery.
And as I try
there is laughter
from some mysterious tunnel,
laughter from an indescribable distance,
from an unhearable distance.

A city sparrow with a liquid song
changes its ungreen life
into music from an unechoing distance,
an unhuntable distance.

And words start hurting me
as they mock, echo from the unhuntable distance,
this merciless distance.

I walk from wall to wall
and the sound of my steps
seems to come from far away
from that merciless distance,
that impossible distance.

I am not blind
but I see nothing
around me, because
vision has detached itself
and reached that distance
that is impossibly far,
excessively far.

I run after myself,
incapable of ever reaching or
catching what I seek.

And this is what is called
want and longing or "garod."

Translated from the Armenian by Diana Der-Hovanessian
(whose last name does rhyme with Armenian)

 

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