Breaking down cultural barriers
Transposer une culture dans une autre par delà les barrières culturelles

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Daniel Varoujan - HARVEST

Pull up your sleeves, sharpen the scythes – for today,
Two thousand men will be reaping wheat and barley.

It is sweet to sink in a sea of spikes, whose fuzzy awn
Blends with the dense dark hair of uncovered chests.

It is sweet to swim upstream in a torrent of sheaves,
To feel the bulging of veins in sun-soaked forearms.

Here are the scythes, as relentless as lightning bolts,
They dive in the wheat as silver, and surface as gold.

Row upon row, spikes fall, as poppies bleed in silence,
And the flaxen flank of the hills folds in vast tremors.

Surge after surge collapse under myriad undulations
Soaring as waves in the furrows, in a vast sea of gold.

And hill and dale swell, quivering on amidst stubble,
While ever so slowly, torrents dry out in the valley.

Some of the men, raising the pitcher to their mouths,
Backs to the sun, swig the water fetched by the brides.

Some crush a lone, bursting husk in their coarse fists
And, before chewing them, bless the full sum of grains.

And tillers in the fields, upsetting the noontime peace
Whet with shrill gusto the blunt crescent of the scythe.

And they mow on, reaping with wide arcs of the arm.
It is the bliss of summers, spreading from awn to awn.

Oh, what laments and demise from horizon to horizon!
Oh, what wailing fields of rye, what collapsing oceans!

And they reap on and on, until the shadows lengthen
And fade away in the distant borders of the landscape.

And then, on the silent road, one can see the long rows
Of the reapers headed towards the lanterns of their huts.

The scythes on their shoulders glitter in the moonlight,
Their perspiring chests cooling in the soothing breeze.

While a cricket, wide-awake in the stillness of the fields,
Fills with its songs the endless firmament full of stars.

Daniel Varoujan
Translated by Tatul Sonentz

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