La bonne chanson – Verlaine

La bonne chanson

La lune blanche
Luit dans les bois ;
De chaque branche
Part une voix
Sous la ramée…

Ô bien-aimée.

L’étang reflète,
Profond miroir,
La silhouette
Du saule noir
Où le vent pleure…

Rêvons, c’est l’heure.

Un vaste et tendre
Semble descendre
Du firmament
Que l’astre irise…

C’est l’heure exquise.

Here is Roupen Sevag’s translation into Armenian…

Վեռլենի «Բարի Երգը»

Լուսինն պուրակի
Վրայ կը հատի.
Ամէն մէկ ճիւղէն
Ձայներ կ՚ողողին
Անտառ ոստալի…

Ով իմ սիրելի։

Մեքող դառնահեղ
Սեւ անագին մեծ
Ստուերը հստակ
Ջրակայքին տակ
Երեր կը սուզի…

Ժամն է երազի։

Անպարփակ, անտես,
Անուրջ մը կարծես
Ա՚անձրեւէ վերէն
Հուր ճաճանչներէն
Աստղ մը կը փայլի…

Ժամ փայփայելի։

Twilight – Roupen Sevag


The sun has set. The final rays of light stretch out from the edge of the clouds. The mountain tops remain snow covered.

And I walk.

The passers-by, the workers, their carts, their horses…I walk, lost amongst the crowd. The sadness within me grows heavier each day. The warmth of my heart has frosted over. I walk – broken, lost. The dying gleams of light – they torture me.

And so, another day has come to an end. And I walk; I walk on unfamiliar lands, to an unfamiliar sunset.

The wide sidewalk cries out beneath my feet. The tall buildings breath a cold indifference down my neck. Men pass me by – they lack the warmth of generations past. And the youth do not smile like my brethren back home.

Old pictures, hazy visions, my sweet memories – why do they torure me so?

I start to drift away – to a far away village. Along the edge of a field – the friendly path below my feet. I walk to my family home, on the far edge of the sleepy road that cuts through the farm.

The cobblestone path that witnessed you grow from toddler to grown man, that saw your grandparents grow. The mossy, friendly smile shines down from the homestead. And to
think of this nest – that belongs to you, your brothers, your sisters, your parents. This heavenly home that, on that wretched day, you decided to abandon for unfamiliar
skies under an unfamiliar roof.

And think back to your childhood – when the concepts of struggle, of exhaustion, and of suffering had no meaning and you were happy. Think back to the childhood memories, now long gone.

The aspirations of my dreams, these dead hopes – why must you plague my every step?
The sun has set, and I want to walk.

Walk, wayward soul.

You left your loved ones behind; they mourn your absence. The whisper of the happiness that you left beind, it calls out for you. Turn your back on your teary-eyed loved ones. Don’t look back. Just walk on.

Walk on to new struggles, a new hopelessness. Walk along the pathetic path of a pointless life. Walk; walk…as the sun sets again and again and until the sun sets no more.
They put a heart in your chest and a brain in your skull. “Live,” they said. “You are going to die.”

To feel pain, to breathe pain, to suffer and to walk until you die.

The sun has set, and I walk on.

Walk – that’s all that I can do…

Roupen Sevag

Here is the original Armenian version.


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Roupen Sevag’s Twilight

The Burial – Roupen Sevag

The Burial

You have blossomed again,
You – a forgotten lump of earth,
I travel from afar to witness your rebirth,
I come on a pilgrimage – my incense burning strong.

Your ruby-colored velvet was once all around me,
Here, when we were together – side by side,
I was happy – and you, a rose,
A wild rose, a work of art – sacred, pure.

But now, the bird plummets in a frenzied rush,
And I have come to die.
Here, laying alongside the swallow’s mangled corpse,
I place my aged heart.

Speechless as I lay still amongst the crickets’ lullaby,
The meadow lit up by thousands of tiny candles – the gifts of the glowworm,
I have decided,
Yes – here is where I wish to lay my wild heart to rest.

Roupen Sevag – undated

Here is the original Armenian version.

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Roupen Sevag’s The Burial



A double translation of Verlaine’s ‘Chanson d’automne’

Hi all,

This post is a bit different than the rest.  I’ll be translating Roupen Sevag’s translation of Verlaine’s “Chanson d’automne”.  For completeness, you can read Verlaine’s original below.

Chanson d’automne par Verlaine

Les sanglots longs
Des violons
De l’automne
Blessent mon coeur
D’une langueur

Tout suffocant
Et blême, quand
Sonne l’heure.
Je me souviens
Des jours anciens,
Et je pleure…

Et je m’en vais
Au vent mauvais
Qui m’emporte
De çà, de là,
Pareil à la
Feuille morte…

Now, this is Sevag’s translation into Western Armenian…

Armenian poetry, Armenia, poem, old poetry, new translation, literature, english translation, armenian translation

Sevag’s translation of Verlaine’s poem

And this is my attempt to translate the Armenian version of the original French….
Autumn’s Song

Cradled by the incessant
Hum of violins
I let out a cry from deep
Within my heart.

When the hour strikes,
Horrid, evil, ill-timed –
I think of days past
And I weep.

And I continue along – silent –
At the whim of my past
Tossed here and there
Like an autumn leaf – drifting away.


Roupen Sevag – Hey you

Roupen Sevag – Hey you

Hey you, passing along this forgotten path,
Your wretched whirling eyes consume me,
You finish me off,
You take your final gulp.

I am alone and you are all that’s left,
My timeless road as a poet has always led me to you,
but you just pass me by
like twilight’s final gleam.

You have always been the coffin of my joy,
To capture the world’s unseen beauty,
To show the world within us all.
– that’s all I ever wanted.

But you pass by unimpressed –
you – like a witch – who has skinned a thousand boys –
Why should you care?

You could have at least thrown me a morsel of praise
as I was trapped within your coffin…
But you leave – and I watch –
your horrid body strolling away as beautiful as a fallen cypress….

The original Armenian version of the poem can be found here [.pdf format]

Roupen Sevag – An Ode to the Morning

Roupen Sevag – An Ode to the Morning

An Ode to the Morning

A winter’s morning has melted the night.
As I dream of you from afar
You come to me, you sit close,
Our room is warm – hot tea awaits us.

The light frost disappears,
The light shines down on your body,
A gentle fog begins to form.

It searches, it longs, it trembles
for some sense of meaning.
Then, it disappears.

And you too disappear…
your shadow has crept away beyond my reach…

And a winter’s morning melts away the night.

The original Armenian version of the poem can be found here [.pdf format]

Roupen Sevag – A Dark Love Song

Roupen Sevag – A Dark Love Song

And so – I love you,
Weak, wounded, cursed, I stand
With little else to say but that
I love you.

Your shadow took my soul on a journey,
Trapping me within an echoless chamber of darkness,
But still – I love you.

Tonight, may a song cry out from within my soul,
However weak, however worthless,
let this song be yours,
Because sister, I love you.

To live? Forever enslaved to my miserable fate…
To die?  Without being yours for even an instant…
Speak to me sister – for I do love you….

Behold my soul – closed upon itself, entombed,
Behold my soul – longing to escape your condescending glow,
Behold my soul  – which still loves you so…

Roupen Sevag

The original Armenian version of the poem can be found here [.pdf format]


Roupen Sevag – Sleep

The forest has fallen into place,
From afar, the lake has reached its fill,
A melted dream is endless, right?
Amongst the pillows, I sleep.

The snow falls chillingly,
My burning white love shivers
As you blink – deep in thought,
You fall in, you sleep.

Isn’t that a song that cries out from afar,
Like a few verses of a quiet blessing,
My undying love
Falls upon you, you sleep.

Death – He circles around your bed…
-Do the dead dream such verses?
Let me be your coffin, lined in black,
So that you may sleep within.



The original Armenian version of the poem can be found here [.pdf format]

Roupen Sevag – Aria


Because they spoke to me
the dying roses – The horror,
as they wept away their gorgeous yellow 
tears, now drifting away in the wind….

And from the mountains,
the winds come panting down from untold heights,
They tell tales of the mute vibrations
of life’s final moments.

Yes, I have watched the arcing of the skies
and her untold emptiness,
The comets fly past as if
the Great Mother is shedding a tear.

And now, my friends, the countless dead 
who have walked before me, 
They dance upon my soul and sing…
“Die you fool, ” they say.

Roupen Sevag


The original Armenian version of the poem can be found here [.pdf format]