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The Literary Groong - 03/03/2007

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Zahrad, Armenian poet whose real name was Zareh Yildizciyan was born
in 1924 and educated in Istanbul. He was educated at Mekhitarist
schools and attended medical school for a while. He became a poet
known for short, epigrammatic, witty, modern verse. His work was trend
setting, wry and playful but with a sharp edge.

He died in February 2007, in Istanbul.

The poems below were translated by Diana Der-Hovanessian, American
born poet, who tells a funny story about him: He had been writing to
her for years, in English, even sending valentines, etc. When he and
his wife went to see her in Boston she learned it was his wife, Anais
who had written all the letters. He didn't know English.

Below are some of her translations of Zahrad's work.
   


	TRUTH AND BEAUTY
	By Zahrad

	Translated by Diana Der-Hovanessian


	Today a bird with a gray bill
	perched on my hand of its own will.
	Whatever is beautiful is free.
	  Whatever is free can come and go.
	Truth can be caged, even buried and so
	true beauty's name is mobility. 


			    *  *  *  *  *

	CLEANING LENTILS
	By Zahrad

	Translated by Diana Der-Hovanessian


	A lentil, a lentil, a lentil, a stone.
	A green one, a black one, a green one, a stone.
	A lentil, a lentil, a lentil, a word.
	Suddenly a word, a lentil, a lentil, a word
	next to another word. A word, a word, a word,
	a speech. A word of nonsense.
	Suddenly a song. A song, a song, suddenly 
	an old dream. A green, a green one, a black one
	a stone.  A lentil, a lentil, a lentil, a stone. 


			    *  *  *  *  *

	THE ARCHER
	By Zahrad

	Translated by Diana Der-Hovanessian


	It is a sharp, shining 
	cupid's point I aim 
	at your heart and draw
	the bow.  But before
	the arrow reaches I fly
	to grab it in full flight
	before it pierces to draw blood.
	  This too is a way of loving.
	I am its inventor. 


			    *  *  *  *  *

	GIFT
	By Zahrad

	Translated by Diana Der-Hovanessian


	Don't turn off
	on Christmas Eve
	your lights too soon.
	I believe
	  your shadow falling
	on the blind
	will be the best gift
	I could find,
	  that gift
	a summer sun of light
	to fill, to warm
	my winter night.
	  Don't turn off
	my dreaming please,
	flicking off lights
	on Christmas Eve.


			    *  *  *  *  *

	GAME
	By Zahrad

	Translated by Diana Der-Hovanessian


	Divide mankind
	into two categories
	male and female.
	Discard the males.
	Keep the women.
	  Then divide the females
	into two groups
	old and young.
	Discard the old.
	  Then put those who remain
	into two groups
	beautiful and plain.
	Keep all those who are not ugly.
	  Then pick from the beautiful
	the one beauty
	and what do you see
	but the wife you've had all your years!


--
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.

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