Հասուն Արտ | Ripened Field

I have always loved poetry and everything about it except two things – especially when I was a child:  learning a poem by heart, and reading it in public.

When I was 12, there was going to be a major poetry assembly dedicated to Varoujan in my school by the graduating students, and they had one person missing last minute who was supposed to read a poem. The teacher of Armenian language and literature caught me in the corridor: ‘Your Western Armenian is good, right?’. ‘Of course’ I showed off, ‘I love the Western Armenian writers’. ‘Do you know anything from Varoujan?’ she pressed further. I didn’t. He had seemed a bit too intimidating to me – I enjoyed the more accessible Duryan and Metsarents then.

But it was too late to get out of it, and within 10 minutes I found myself with a pile of Varoujan books in a noisy class of 18 year olds. I was terrified of them, of Varoujan, of the teachers and the prospect of reading a poem by heart for whole school that I didn’t know yet.

I leafed through his books. The words and sentences were long and heavy – then suddenly something caught my eye. It was called ‘Հասուն արտ՛ (‘Ripened Field’) and its lines were short. ‘This is the one’ I decided with my childish logic and started reading it.

This is how my love affair with Varoujan’s works started. I started reading and within seconds the magic carpet of his words whooshed me out of that noisy, dusty classroom into a golden field.

Արտս ոսկո՜ւն է…
Նման բոցերու
Ցորենն է բռնկեր`
Առանց այրելու:

Արտս ոսկո՜ւն է…
Երկինքն է կրակ.
Հողը խորխոլած
Ծղոտներու տակ:

My field is golden…
Just like flames,
The wheat’s ablaze,
Yet never burns. 

My field is golden…
The sky in flames,
The soil trodden
Beneath the stems.

This made me a bit breathless, it was too beautiful. It sounded like heavenly music, so rhythmic, so alluring – and at the same time I could see those images so vividly. Who can do this, armed just with a paper and pen? I went on reading, the images of golden wheat, amber and sun dancing in my head. I felt I’m in the whirlpool of his words, and they’re going to stay in my head forever (they did, 31 years on, I can almost quote it fully by heart).

Արտս ոսկո՜ւն է…
Քառաշար հասկեր
Քառաշար սաթով
Արև´ն են հագեր:

Արտս ոսկո՜ւն է…
Բոռ, մեղու, պիծակ
Քիստերուն մեջեն
Կանցնին զերթ փայլակ:

My field is golden…
Sheaves in rows of four,
Clad in sunshine —
Four files of amber.

My field is golden…
Bee, wasp, hornets
Whiz through the awns
Like lightning bolts.

Those words and images just grabbed me. ‘Քառաշար հասկեր / Քառաշար սաթով / Արև´ն են հագեր’, I repeated to myself and I knew I wanted to say this words aloud for everyone to hear.
By the time I reached the last lines, I knew Varoujan has put a spell on me, and I want to know more about his golden shimmering world and hear the music of the villagers’ rhythmic scything, where he dreamed of the perfect harmony of man and nature.

Արտս ոսկո՜ւն է…
Մերթ կելլե, հովեն,
Դեղձանիկ մը թի´ռ,
Ոսկեծուփ ծովեն:

Օրո՜ր, ոսկո´ւն արտ,
Օ՜ր տուր, հասո´ւն արտ,
Գամ ոսկիդ հնձեմ
Մանգաղով արծաթ:

My field is golden…
Oft, a fleet canary
Soars, wind driven,
From the blond sea…

Lullaby, golden field,
Let me come harvest,
My full-grown field
With a silver scythe.

(Poetry translated by Tatul Sonentz | Image: from The Earth Speaks – Armenian Writers’ Collection: victims of the 1915 Genocide)

Tatevik in her own words

Favourite film: Y Tu Mama Tambien
Favourite director: Pedro Almodovar, Stanley Kubrick, Mark Zakharov
Favourite actor: Gael Garcia Bernal
Favourite book: 100 Years of Solitude, Master and Margarita, The Little Prince
Favourite band: Kasabian
Favourite writer: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The person I’d want to work with: Ralph  Fiennes, just to hear his voice
What I’d be doing if not in filmmaking: writing my book finally
What made me want to get involved in this film: Varoujan and his magical words lured me in.
Favourite moment in Taniel: Varoujan looking out of the train. Visually amazing image, and absolutely heartbreaking

Tatevik Ayvazyan has been involved in the poetry selection of the film

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