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THREE POETS, 1915 By Diana Der Hovanessian Varoujan The great Armenian epic, that was what I was working on. And when I would read segments to my students their eyes would fill with the deep secret of their past. It was like owning a huge gem we alone knew about. I polished it in a secret room. When the Turks hauled me out in April to my death they found the stone, still rough, and tossed it into the great fire. Siamanto My greatest rhythms rolled out when I spoke, resurrecting my people's hopes. I told them to build muscle and break the ropes. And when I wrote I heard Narek breathe in my poems. Narek set the pace. For centuries our legacy. Yet so many children do not claim their inheritance, forbidden to learn their letters. Some wear his poems like talismans waiting to learn. I praise the words that link us stronger than blood. Tekeyan Older than one, the same age as the other, I outlived both only because I was in Jerusalem when the great crime came. Brothers, I write every day now, honing, honing, I rewrite and reshape. Poems have become my wife and children. Editorials are my letters home but to no address that I won. I write out the burden of having lived, the terrible burden of having survived. Copyright © 2002 Diana Der Hovanessian 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.