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The Literary Groong - 12/06/2003

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	by Shushanik Kurghinian, 1907
	Translated by S. Avagyan, 2002

	I want to live, but not a lavish life wedged 
	in obscurity, unconcern, simple-mindedness,
	nor an outright hostage of beauty aids
	as a frail creature, delicate and feeble -
	but equal to you, oh men, 
	auspicious, as you are - powerful and headstrong, 
	fit against calamities, and ingenious -
	with bodies full of fervor.

	I want to love, unreserved, without a mask -
	autonomous like you, so that when in love
	I can sing my feelings to the world
	and unchain my heart - a woman's heart
	before the crowds  ignoring the stern 
	judgements with my shield,
	and destroy their prickly arrows 
	with all my vigor unrestrained!

	I want to act, next to you, in equality
	as my people's loyal chapter;
	let me suffer over and again, night or day 
	roaming from one place to another, 
	struggling for those ideals of sovereignty  
	And let this heft torment me in my exile -
	only to gain the purpose of my life. 

	I want to eat, freely as you do,
	from that same fair bread, for which
	I gave my share of holy work;
	humble and meek in the battle for existence,
	let me shed sweat-and-tears 
	without feeling any shame for a blessed earning,
	let scarlet-blood flow from my laborer's hand 
	and back tires in pain!

	I want to fight, first - as your rival,
	standing against you with an old vengeance,
	that absurdly and without mercy you 
	turned me into a vassal through love and force 
	Then after clearing these issues of my sex -
	I want to fight against the agonies of life -
	courageously like you, holding your hand,
	together - facing this struggle of being or not.

Shushanik Kurghinian (1876-1927) lived in Armenia and Russia, and is
famous for her proletarian and feminist poetry. Her first volume of
poems got published in 1907, in Nor Nakhichevan. She has been widely
censored by the Czarist and Marxist editors, as a huge portion of her
writings has never been published. An archive of her works is kept at
the Museum of Art and Literature in Yerevan.  Bibliography:
Kurghinian, Shushanik.
Poems. Ed. J. Mirzabekian. Yerevan: Hayastan Publishing, 1971.

Shushan Avagyan was born in Yerevan, Armenia.  She is currently
working on her master's degree in English Literature, and is a
recipient of the Dalkey Archive Press fellowship at the Illinois
State University.

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