Asking for Your Blessing
By Lucine Kasbarian
24 April, 2012
On our cellar walls, you are immortal.
Over the years, I’ve conversed with you.
I speak the mother tongue your resolute children, my parents, taught me.
You stare back thoughtfully, through sepia-toned photos.
Your bodies are stocky; you wear clothes you made yourselves.
Your hands are calloused from planting, building, kneading and mending.
Your faces are stoic, even when in bridal garb.
Your expressions carry a worldliness born from suffering and uncomplaining dignity.
Almond shaped, your eyes have the heavy lids that is our ancestral birthright.
They betray the sleeplessness of tormented memory, and exhaustion from rebuilding shattered lives.
Sometimes I ask about Dikranagerd, sometimes Sepastia -- wishing you could reminisce.
I long for your folk wisdom, your Old Country ways.
I ask you to recall our gentle kertastan before the seizures, slaughters and destruction.
I try to picture how you subsisted as lambs before wolves.
You patiently listen as I speak of the burdens of today’s Armenian -- no matter how light when compared to yours, and sometimes just as onerous.
Then I ask forgiveness for not doing more.
Many times I seek to borrow your strength, your all-seeing wisdom.
Why did you die before I could know you?
In my mind, your penetrating eyes lavish the love only grandparents can give.
Year after year, I yearn for you to speak up and say,
“We see you clearly from above.
You carry our blood in your veins.
You feel our ancient world in your bones.
You live with our history.
You possess our ethic.
You dance and sing authentically.
You persist in spite of exile.
You know our sufferings.
You speak for us.
You won’t forsake us.
You have our blessing.
You do us justice.
You are Western Armenia.”
Caption: Hampartzoum Hamparian & Armaveni Kazarian, Lucine's grandparents.