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The Glory of Invention

Mesrob! you stand an unshatterable
diamond rock against time,
against the Armenian centuries.
You, an undiscovered lighthouse
illuminating the unformed brains
of children, and igniting the genius.
You, the clatter of the chisel,
whose hours, whose minutes carve statues
for the museum of the intellect.
You, the sleepless watchman,
you, the visionary titan of
each word of ours, each utterance
from the cradle to the grave.
You, the creator of dialect and dialogue,
prince of words,
You, the permanent watermark,
the generating father of substance,
you, wheel of light, invitation to faith,
boundless forest, a forest rising on our native soil,
sudden as a storm rising, a forest of solid trees,
each of whose branches is a harp for our breath.
Each one a trumpet for our battles, each
a barricade against scourges.
You, inexhaustible field of wheat, you, free bread.

You, a rich harvest, you a glowing hot wine press,
you, a golden vat of wine into which
even I, mad with thirst for the sun,
plunge a golden pitcher.

You, apostle with eyes that cut and cleave,
you, whose future glorifies the past,
you, who with vision, invention and ardor,
freed the Armenian offspring
from the clever Greeks and fire-worshipping Persians.
And from the world-conquering Romans.
You kept them intact with the ruby
cornerstone of your language.
You, a second god and
first creator of thought.
You, fertile source of goodness
and heart,
treasurehouse of color, and throne
of compassion,
you, a bride without toll,
arching the flying centuries,
a bridge over which your peoples
cross, your millions cross
in glory, marching in pride
or dragged in sorrow, from life to death.

You, the titled prophet
forecast by the Greeks,
you, the solitary magistrate
to whom Armenians roar Hosannah!
Hosannah! they cry also
to Sahag of Parth, your contemporary
pontiff of Vagharshabad.
Hosannah to King Vramshabouh
for supporting like two buttresses
your discovery,
one with his cross, one with his sword.
Pace by pace, they walked with you,
to open the door of literature,
to let in the dawn of Ararat.

Ah, with what fevers of the blood,
were you carried,
from what chill,
from what hellish twisting,
from what hesitation,
from what hypothesis,
what undulation of the brain,
what transfiguration of balance,
with which molecule of the spirit,
which ray of the eyes,
with how many drops of sweat,
and inspiration, how many
panting breaths, flights of flying dreams,
through how many vortices of prayer
in those forty days and nights
in that solitude, quiet as death,
were you lifted toward your vision?

And from which germinating seed
which unsprouted flower,
from what air, what voiceless accent,
what colorless word, which rootless
stripling did you create
the harmonious alphabet?
Thus, from the golden threshold
of the Fourth Century until now,
the Armenian spirit fuses
with Armenian blood.

Oh, riddle without solution,
oh lightning bolt of fiery nerves,
oh pulse and impulse of blood,
spotless multiplication of dreams.
Amazing and lyric chimera!

You are a rainbow of divine love,
the bearer of the fire of reconciliation,
the carrier of the hesitant,
ruler of the irresolute.
You are a fantastic dome of perfect design.

You, a passionate monk, man of God,
brother of the mind, sister of the harp,
allow me to drink from your cup.

Today, nourished by your holiness
I, a tardy harpist, undeserving but
grateful, bring you the soul
of your people as a mirror.
The fire in my eye is from the fiery eye
of your people. My words are harvested
from their hearts.
Whatever you read on my forehead
and in my smile, I have written with their hope.
Therefore, allow me to climb your gold ladder
step by step, crown by crown, as your son,
the son of your thought
to sing this song.

About The Poet


Siamanto, or Adam Yerjanian, in his work and life personifies the ideal poet-as-hero. He was a popular activist and critically acclaimed poet. born in Akn, Western Armenia, Siamanto was educated in Istanbul and Paris, at the faculty of philosophy of Sorbonne. He traveled to Switzerland, Egipt, London, Vienna, and the United States before returning to Istanbul. Two of his collections of poetry, In the manner of a Hero (1902) and The Invitation from the Fatherland (1903), show his own interpretation of European poetic trends at the turn of the century. His indignation at the fate of his people, plus his incantational, ceremonial style, made him one of the most beloved writers of his day. He was among the intellectual leaders killed right before the massacre of the population in 1915.