Avetik Isahakyan and Hovhannes Shiraz


Is he a bastard who becomes a father…why did this thought strike Shiraz?

Avetik Isahakyan has such lines in the poem “Abu-Lala Mahari”.
He’s a bastard who’s a father
who has nothing from the blissful bosom
A vocation to poor Juliet
and burning the hell of this life on his head.

Avetik Isahakyan was an unquestionable authority for Hovhannes Shiraz. The grandson of the master, Avik Isahakyan, tells that Shiraz used to burn his works that were “not to Isahakyan’s heart”. However, the thought “He who becomes a father is a scoundrel” hurt Shiraz.

And here, Shiraz writes a poem and sends it to the Master in a letter to make sure in advance that the latter will not be offended.

The typewritten version of the letter was in the archive of literary critic Arpik Avetisyan (my grandmother, ed.). The collection of Shiraz’s letters has not been published. his letters, mostly atypical, are in various archives.

My grandmother and Shiraz were good friends, Shiraz even has a poem dedicated to my grandmother with the inscription “To the precious Arpik of the museum”. There are other letters from Shiraz in my grandmother’s archive, including the originals. How this one ended up in the archive, I cannot say, because the original letter was not in the archives of the Charents Museum of Literature and Art, where my grandmother worked for many years.

I applied to Angela Khorenyan, the director of Avetik Isahakyan’s House-Museum in Yerevan. It turned out the original is in their vault. Mrs. Khorenyan kindly provided not only the original letter to be photographed, but also the little-known photos of Shiraz and Isahakyan.

Below is the letter, which, by the way, is undated.

Dear Master
I wrote with a request, but I still don’t have an answer. Alas, you did not receive the letter. I am writing again. I wrote a poem, I want to print it, but I would like to know if you won’t be offended, because it is almost a semi-parody, here it is:
He is a bastard who becomes a father…

Av. Isahakyan
As soon as I came home, I became wounded,
My son fell into my arms like a lamb.
And the voice of my mind was jumping out sweetly.
Blessed is he who becomes a father.
My son would dispel my sorrow with a kiss,
My heart opened and became lighter.
The world was becoming a paradise in my eyes,
Blessed is he who becomes a father.
Spring was blooming around me
My son’s cheerful with toys,
They are streams, I am a tree on the banks,
Blessed is he who becomes a father.
When my life descended into deep old age,
My land was invaded by the old sokh awake,
But my son came out and drove him out.
Blessed is he who becomes a father.
And when death came upon my head,
I became a handful of soil, leaving behind a song and a home.
My son kept my resting hearth burning,
Oh, he’s a bastard who doesn’t become a father.

Here. for this very last line, if you are upset, if not, please write so that I can print it here. To tell the truth, I think that it was impossible for you to be upset, but my half-acquaintances here say that he will be upset, precisely because he said that he who becomes a father is a scoundrel, and you say that he is a scoundrel. one who does not become a father. Besides, he said about you that Shiraz is still fluid both as a person, as a character, and as a poet…

Dear Master, to tell the truth, I believe those half-acquaintances, but I think you will allow me to print this song; I’m not insulting you with this, but those who are dry-headed and dry up on the bush when they bloom, fall under your feet in the fall without any fruit… Besides, you “water” yourself with your Vigen (Isahakyan’s son – L.A.) I, and I think that you won’t be upset, because you have also given temporary fruit…

Please write quickly, because I want to print while I am here in Leninakan. Alas, they don’t print in Yerevan, but here there is more feeling, there is less publicity here, it is the emotion and breath that my readers here appreciate…

I found out that you were here, had fun and left. I also wanted to climb the mountains, but here, coming down from Arkhvali (the old name of Lernut village in Shirak marz – L.A.), I got sick and I’m a little sick, I’m cold, warm… At the same time, please intervene, speak fatherly, as you always speak, and Litfond should help a little. I am here with my sister. he is also in a sad state. I need good, strong food, while… dry bread is all I eat.

I wrote to Abov, but I still don’t have an answer… If possible, let them send money or provide other material assistance. Nvard Tumanyan (Hovh. Tumanyan’s daughter – L. A.) promised to take me to Dsegh, but here I am waiting for him for a long time, but he neither gives news nor appears, so we should go to Lori, where I might recover a little…
But I’m upset that you didn’t make a speech against Ruben (presumably Ruben Zaryan-L.A.). I know that in your heart you do not agree with his “prophecies”. Demirchyan spoke, but even one of your words would be different. Anyway.

I kiss your fatherly light forehead, waiting. Write to this address: “The Worker”… Or through someone else, to the “Worker’s” editorial office.

Yours, Hovhannes Shiraz

In the main photo: Avetik Isahakyan and Hovhannes Shiraz, 1940.





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