“Little Lake” by Bedros Tourian

Bedros Tourian (1851-1872) was an Armenian poet and playwright. This is my translation of “Little Lake” from Armenian to English.

Little Lake

Why are you stunned, little lake?
Your wavelets are not in motion.
Is it that a beautiful woman
Wistfully looked in your mirror?

Or is it that your wavelets
Are admiring the blue of the sky
And those shining clouds
That look like your foam?

My melancholic little lake,
Let us be friends.
Like you, I, too, love
To be alone, silent, meditative.

How many waves you have…
My forehead holds that many thoughts.
How many foam flakes you have…
My heart has that many wounds.

Even if heaven’s constellations
Fall in your lap
You, you cannot match
my soul, whose fire is infinite.

There, the stars do not die.
The flowers, there, don’t decay.
The clouds don’t form rain
When you and the air are calm.

Little lake, you are my queen!
Let the wind gust through my wrinkles.
Again, in your exciting depths,
You hold me, trembling.

Many have rejected me,
“He only has a lyre,” they said.
Someone: “He trembles; he is pale.”
Another one: “He will die.”

No one said, “This boy’s
sorrowful heart, let’s tear it
To see what is written there…”
There, there is fire, not a book.

There is ashes… a memory…
Let your wavelets move, little lake,
Because a despairing man
Stared into you.

“My Death” by Bedros Tourian

Bedros Tourian (1851-1872) was an Armenian poet and playwright. This is my translation of “My Death” from Armenian to English.

My Death

If the grim angel of death
Descends to face me with a baseless smile,
And my pains and soul evaporate,
Know that I am still alive.

If, with my forehead shining with tears,
In a shroud, like a cold rock,
They wrap me, lay me in a black casket,
Know that I am still alive.

If, at my bedside, my exemplar,
A taper – feeble and wan –
With a cold ray shimmers,
Know that I am still alive.

If the sad bell tolls,
The wicked laughter of death vibrates,
And my coffin takes its silent step,
Know that I am still alive.

If those funeral singers
Who have dark and dismal faces
Spread incense and prayers
Know that I am still alive.

If they decorate my grave,
And with sobbing and mourning
My dear ones depart,
Know that I am still alive.

But if it remains unmarked,
The only pile of earth of mine
In the world, and my memory fades
Ah! This is the time when I die.

“She” by Bedros Tourian

‘She’ (1871) is a poem by Bedros Tourian. Below is my translation from Armenian to English. (If you want to read the original Armenian version, click here.)



The rose of spring,
If it did not resemble
The maiden’s cheeks,
Who would have esteemed it?

If the blue of the ether
Did not take after
The maiden’s eyes,
Who would have gazed at the sky?

If the maiden were not
Lovely and pure,
Where would man peruse
God of heaven?

A poem by Bedros Tourian, written in 1871. A poem called ‘She’

—Պետրոս Դուրյան (1871)

Վարդը գարնայնի
Թե կույսին տիպար
Այտերուն չ՚ըլլար՝
Ո՞վ կ՚հարգեր զ՚անի։

Թե չը նմաներ
Կապույտն եթերաց
Կույսին աչերաց՝
Երկինք ո՞վ կ՚նայեր։

Թե կույսը չ՚ըլլար
Սիրուն ու անբիծ,
Աստվածն այն երկնից
Մարդ ու՞ր կը կարդար: