Azerbaijan International

Spring 1999 (7.1)
Page 56

Samad Vurgun
Samad Vurgun

Father of writers Yusif and Vagif Samadoglu

Right: Portrait by Gunduz


Men know that you are mine by birth:
My nest, my refuge and my hearth,
My mother, native land, dear earth!
Sever soul and body? Death but can,
O Azerbaijan, my Azerbaijan!

As mother to me, as child to you-
Such is the bond we ever knew:
I'd come back wherever I flew,
For you are my people, you-my nest,
My native birthplace ever blest.


A day that's free, a man that's free,
A spring like this invites a spree!
Seek out the shade of a plane tree
To spread a rug that's rainbow-spun-
And hail the country of the Sun!


Beautiful birthland! I was born
Together with freedom's dawn
Which crimson banners did adorn-
Life seemed one endless, joyous feast;
Gay songs and laughter never ceased.
Dear country-gate of the Ancient East.

Translated by Gladys Evans and published in Azerbaijanian Poetry: Classic, Modern, Traditional, edited by Mirza Ibrahimov. Moscow: Progress Publishers. No date [probably late 1970s], p. 285.

You've Grown So Old

Fine verse gives rise to joy, it's true,
But poets bow to sorrow, too,
For life in such a way proceeds
That luck our happiness decrees.
Thus everybody wonders why
My head with so much gray is strewn:
"How come you've grown so old so soon?"

A sweet young lady yesterday
Presented me with a bouquet.
She paused and never said a word,
But what she meant could be inferred.
This was the question that I read
In eyes as bright as glowing noon:
"How come you've grown so old so soon?"

In hunting I would take delight
And roam the steppe all day and night,
From mountaintop I would descend
And, arrow swift, through valleys wend.
I'd often aim at antelopes
But every bullet sang this tune:
"How come you've grown so old so soon?"

My lute that has a thousand strings
Now softly or now loudly sings.
But then the fiend who breaks our heart,
Past master of the liar's art,
Will drop in passing the remark
Maliciously inopportune:
"How come you've grown so old so soon!"

My head is graying, but my heart
Glows just as bright as at the start.
Although with gray my head be strewn
I know for sure that, come what may,
My wife and country shall not say:
"How come you've grown so old so soon!"

Translated by Peter Tempest

From Azerbaijan International (7.1) Spring 1999.
© Azerbaijan International 1999. All rights reserved.

Back to Index AI 7.1 (Spring 99)
AI Home
| Magazine Choice | Topics | Store | Contact us