by Ліна Костенко
Translated from Ukrainian by Dalia Lane

Their villages were burned-
Their horses ran away-
They’re going to exile-
To such a distant land–

For children to remember-
Their songs and their tales-
Their women draw some letters-
In the sand–

But wind, wind, wind!
It’s such a cruel wind!
It’s cutting their faces-
Turning black–

They try to draw some words-
From letters in the sand-
But words without roots-
They roll away–

In some forgotten desert-
Their words will eat some camels-
Their children will forget them-
And will grow deaf and numb–

Their road is turning endless-
They have no roof or table-
They walk and walk forever-
With letters on their minds–

Their churches have been ruined-
Their husbands have been slaughtered-
Their mourning tolls have drowned-
In silent lakes–

Oh how to survive now?
In a burning bleeding desert?
There is no Moon above them-
But a Turkish yataghan–

But wind, wind, wind-
How painful is that wind-
Where else the fate will lead-
Those refugees?

They have no time to write them-
Those tiny healing letters-
They have nowhere to write them-
Nothing to write them with–

And only while they’re resting-
At rare precious moments-
Before those tired women-
Lift again their load–

Those Armenian letters-
They plant them like the sprouts-
And water them with tears –
Hoping one day they’ll grow–

And letters started blooming-
And in the sands they’ve rooted-
But wind, wind, wind-
That wind won’t ever stop–

The refugees keep moving-
But fragile stems of letters-
In desert’s flaming sands-
They now grow–

Strong horses trampling on them-
Clinking with their stirrups-
But the eternal letters-
Arise in songs and tales–

“Tsavd Tanem”- while leaving-
Saying the Armenians-
Your sorrow is with me now-
I take away your pain—

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