Five Poems by Vahe Arsen

4 May 2016

Vahe Arsen (Arsenyan) was born in 1978 in Yerevan. He earned his PhD in American and English literature from Yerevan State University, and is currently assistant Professor of the Chair of World literature at Yerevan State University. He is also editor-in-Chief of literary journal Foreign Literature.

Arsen translates poetry from English and Russian into Armenian. He has published two poetry collections in Armenian – The Flying Bicycle (2003) and The Return of the Green Gods (2007) – with the second book translated into the Dutch and published in Netherlands in 2010 and into the Russian in 2011 with the title The Sun Express.


Rimbaud
or Crucifixion of the Soul

The road is a barbed wire
and a magnet

the androgyne night reads a prayer
upon the city

a perverted and genius
and tormented youth
cross-nails his soul
on the virgin-roadside

and dreams of Baudelaire.


The Apple Under a Tree Means a New Flood

Soon after the flood comes a new flood
and a new creation – before and after the flood
a new tree
and the old Creator

In the new branches – the former Satan
in the rustling leaves – the Sun newly stiff and impudent,
and souls of new substance flying over the water
In the Old emptiness – a worn-out body with rotten ribs
under a new tree – an apple forgotten


The Hunter-moment

The birds had attacked
the walnut tree of my summer house
I ran into the house for the rifle
I ran into the house to save the walnuts
I ran into the house

I directed the rifle to the tree-bird,
to the coalescence of the twin
I stood still –
to catch the moment
but the moment was stronger
than my right forefinger

the tree isn’t mine
the walnuts are not mine
and the birds too,
only the rifle is!
which had coiled around my arm like a snake

I threw it away


The Walker on the Water

I love peasant’s hands like my own self
hands
with soil-web on them
thorny
with nacreous fingernails
each finger – a child’s backbone
monolithic
separate
amphibious roots

they chose three melons fusing with the fruit’s roundness
the watermelon’s cavern rang
the sunburnt tomatoes became hand-corns
the eggplant – a family of black rabbit kits,
who filled into the shabby sack hindering one another
then the peasant plunged down into the sack of sharp-ended peppers
and reached the nucleus of the globe
split the mocking darkness of the outer space
and pulled out a half-red splendid pepper
pulled out with more creed than Pope towards life and
Resurrection
and put in line with other peppers waiting in the sack
and wiped the death on his muddy trousers…
he thrust the money in his shirt pocket until the packing was torn…

the cigarette burnt like the Sun…
then he breathed in the luminary and leaned against his car
the metal of it was long ago gone…
mixed with the soil…
and now sprouted…

and I and my son both loaded
start our walk on the water…


The Arrival of Fairies

At this hour of the day,
when your senses prompt that you are the son of the Moon and
your love takes the shape of non-essence – emaciates and leaks fluid-form or unformed,
the city prompts you,
that the times of hopelessness begin for love

the times of drugs that replace everything,
that will smoke the troubles of the day
together with the day
impassable for sensation and
very safe,
desirable like the unborn embryo

avoid foreigners at dawn
you can suddenly love two of them or One, and those who die in the news will not soothe
the silent coffee hour at daybreak

and then the universal reality begins
the hurry-scurry of vanity splits the daily rite of your expectation and
you covet new sites in which the times and history of others rule
but at the same time something dies inside you and is not reflected in
the morning news
and you do not find solace in your dying and the dying of others
besides the time there are flows in your veins which can also linger and
stop
useless mirrors in the renewed cave that watch you and
do not want to see themselves never ever
useless visions and seers – before the bombs and after the bombs
visions, and visions and again visions … without those who look and see
kingless thrones
deaths without the departed
resurrections noiseless and inqueit
and even invisible

statues washed by rain
souls washed by statues
souls without masters and silence,
immobility more than presence and starving worms which have no wings to migrate and
no fancy to stretch a caravan
just then the fairies are born and blooming in harmony with drowsiness of the trees in woods
and the silent and serene nature of the plant becomes complete
and again something visionary is born
and becomes more real, urgent and moveable
and discerns the Seer from his own pupil

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