Psalm for the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide




Refection on Psalm 137

By the rivers of every country
today we shall sit down to weep
as we remember Armenia.

If we forget the genocide there –
the deaths of intellectuals,
the burnings and drownings,
executions and massacres,
the chasm of death,
the walk into the Syrian desert —

then let us also forget
our own histories
and the living and dying of all children.

If we play games with words
and do not truly name the sorrow
of one hundred years ago,
then let our politics wither,
words of diplomacy
cling to the roofs of our mouths.

Remember how the world
was taught holocaust?

Remember how the world
was taught it could
deny ethnic cleansing?

Let this day become again
all the world’s school —
not of revenge
for the deaths of babies,
not of hiding the truth of history.

Let us learn to see harps hanging
on the sorrow trees
of every captive people,
and pick them up
and sing their songs —

songs of Armenia,

songs to remember
no land is a foreign one
all the little ones are our own.

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2 Responses to Psalm for the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide

  1. rezrevres says:

    I’m not at all sure how you find the time to be involved in all the projects that you routinely accomplish, and still manage to compose such poignant and culturally relevant poetry. Each of your days must comprise at least a few more hours than the 24 that the rest of us have been allotted, and I’m so glad you willingly share them with the rest of the world in such plaintive elegance.

  2. Thanks for this – a sad and poignant tale that teaches us much about the present, in which many Europeans want to keep the African boat people out, and most Americans want to send the Mexican refugee children back –
    For the many Armenians who ended up in the US, and who have sat in our pews, and who have endured the denial of their experience, it must be welcome news that so much is now being aired about what happened there, a century ago. Thanks for you words.

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