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To the Reader
Vahan Tekeyan

My soul belongs to me no matter how I offer pieces
to strangers passing by, on every page.
My soul belongs to me, no one can recognize it whole
with its formidable darkness and blinding lights.

Like the unstripped mine for gold, coal, or perhaps lead
the dredging has bared only the first layer
of joys, and the black floodwaters of pain.
A deeper volcano rumbles underneath it all.

My soul is that mine, only partially excavated.
Who knows how many new pains will burrow
and shaft, blast by blast? It belongs to me.
Today 1 regret that so many samples were passed
to onlookers when I intended all the while
to give it whole, only to one or two.

About The Poet

Vahan Tekeyan

Vahan Tekeyan was known as a perfectionist, because he always looked for the precise word. He was born in Istanbul in 1978 and educated in the Armenian schools there. His first poems were collected and published in 1901. Besides his own books, he published translations of French symbolist poetry and the sonnets of Shakespeare. The sonnet remained his favorite form.

During the 1896 persecutions, Tekeyan left Istanbul for Europe. He returned, but subsequently settled in Egypt, where he was active in Armenian political life and edited the Armenian newspaper, Arev.

His books are "Burdens" (1901), "The Wonderful Rebirth" (1914), "From Midnight Until Dawn" (1918), "Love" (1933), "Armenian Songs" (1943), and "Book of Odes" (1944).