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CHANT FOR THE NEW YEAR By Diana Der Hovanessian According to Tacitus, Tiridates I, the king of Armenia Went to Rome in 63 AD by land, refusing to pollute the sea. Robert Thomson, Harvard University On Vanatour on New Year's Day, arise and bless the coming hours. On Vanatour on such a day the doors unlatch and deck themselves with winter flowers. On such a day King Drtad whom the Romans called the Magus, started on his journey west on his black horse sent him by his Mazdean brother the Parthian king, following the sun westward on his dark horse that trailed the year. He went by land by sand, by shore and over mountain roads to Rome not to pollute the treasures of the sea where Mithra slept, where Mithra kept, the image of the sun, and all the golden swords; not to pollute the place of rest where the sun god slept and from where he comes when Armenians call "Aramazd. Mher. Mihr, arise and bless the newest day of the New Year". -- Diana Der Hovanessian is a Fulbright professor of American literature at Yerevan State University in 1994 and 1999, she is author of 17 books and has published in American Scholar, Poetry, Harvard Review, Nation, Paris Review, New Republic, and her poetry is regularly published in the Christian Science Monitor. She has awards from the Columbia Translation Center, P.E.N., Writers Union of America, and the Writers Union of Armenia.