We As Two Separate Planets

Shushanik Kurghinian

To Mania

We as two separate planets embraced
each other on a new life's threshold,
I, a native child of the mountains,
you, the arctic's beautiful daughter.

The day was a rebel, its strike erratic . . .
The mob fierce, fires ablaze . . .
You stood there as a golden brush,
I, a black and somber exile.

Did you see the embers of my old illusions
beneath the golden tongues of flame?
We as two separate planets wept
equally under one great cross.

June 7, 1908

translated from the Armenian by Shushan Avagyan

Read the original in Armenian

Shushanik Kurghinian (1876-1927) was an Armenian poet who catalyzed the development of socialist and feminist poetry before Armenia became part of the Soviet Union in 1920. She is the author of Arshaluysi ghoghanjner (Ringing of the Dawn, 1907), which included poems that referred to the failed Revolution of 1905 in Imperial Russia. Later poems were rejected and barred from publication by tsarist censorship after the appearance of her first book. They were published posthumously during the Soviet period.

Shushan Avagyan (b. 1976) is a literary translator working on her PhD in comparative literature at Illinois State University and residing in Yerevan. She is the translator from Russian of Energy of Delusion and Bowstring: On the Dissimilarity of the Similar by Viktor Shklovsky (Dalkey Archive), and from Armenian I Want to Live: Poems of Shushanik Kurghinian (AIWA).