Vox Populi

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Gregory Djanikian: What I Can Tell You

I found no trace of Armenians there.
All buildings in the Armenian quarter had been leveled.
—a survivor, returning to Kharpert after many years

I can tell you it was a village
fertile and full of grain,
that the moon grew full above it
before it darkened.

I can tell you that the figs
were abundant, their tiny seeds
were like small gems, hard
and round in the mouth.

I can tell you that the river in the evening
was like a dream of a woman
whose sleep lay undisturbed,
that the scents of mint and oleander
were the perfume of a hundred nights.

I can tell you that the women
halfway to the olive groves one morning
must have heard a chatter of birds
and the foot soldiers coming.

I can tell you that the men
deep in the fields of wheat
would lie down soon
and disappear into its many roots.

And I can tell you that the dream I have
is to walk back to this village
and stand in the square for a moment,
feeling the history of it on my skin,
a history of departures, vanishings.

And I can tell you I would like to hear
the wind moving again through the acacia leaves
and the plum trees in the courtyards,

And to hear a woman singing by an open window,
her voice like the sound of rain falling
and her hair as long and dark as the river.

From So I Will Till the Ground by Gregory Djanikian (Carnegie Mellon, 2007). Included in Vox Populi by permission of the author.

4 comments on “Gregory Djanikian: What I Can Tell You

  1. Rose Mary Boehm
    August 22, 2021

    Very moving. Thenk you for remembering and reminding.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      August 22, 2021

      Yes, Gregory has such elegant music in his poetry, and his subject, the annihilation of his people and the century-long cover-up, is heartbreaking.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Barbara Huntington
    August 22, 2021

    We are such a beautiful and suc a bad experiment

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on August 22, 2021 by in Opinion Leaders, Poetry, Social Justice, War and Peace and tagged , , .

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