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The Literary Groong - November 6, 2004

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	by Shavarsh Nartuni
	translated by Ara Baliozian

	This morning more than ever
	I am seized by an irresistible longing
	to speak my mother tongue.
	I search for an Armenian,
	any Armenian, with whom I can speak.
	If you understand this strange,
	irresistible longing,
	please help me.

	I would like to meet an Armenian,
	any Armenian,
	even an alienated one
	who has forgotten his mother tongue.
	Let him remember a single word only;
	and let our paths cross
	so that I may say to him:
	Are you Armenian?
	And if he were to nod yes with his head,
	I would immediately cry out the words
	taught to me by my father and mother:
	Pari Louys!
	In the name of everything that is holy,
	I swear to you
	there can be nothing sweeter,
	nothing more heart-rending.

	ow much meaning have our ancestors
	placed in that expression!...
	O my lovely Armenian language:
	as fresh as the morn
	and as deep as the night;
	as frolicsome as a child
	and as wise as an old man;
	as consoling as a prayer
	and as beautiful as Spring.

	O my sweet Armenian language
	fit for a mighty king
	as well as a humble peasant,
	suitable for townspeople
	as well as villagers,
	ever youthful,
	ever mighty,
	may you live forever.

SHAVARSH NARTUNI (1898-1968) was born in a small village near Istanbul
but spent most of his life in Paris. After receiving his medical
degree, he became involved in community affairs and contributed a
ceaseless flow of essays, short stories, prose poems, and articles on
different aspects of Armenian culture, some of which were later
collected and published in 20 volumes.

Ara Baliozian was born in Athens, Greece and received his education
in Venice, Italy. He lives in Ontario, Canada and writes in
Armenian and English and has published over 20 books of his
works. He has translated works from Armenian writers, such as
Grigor Zohrab, Zabel Yessayan, and Kostan Zarian into English.

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