Azerbaijan International

Spring 2004 (12.1)
Pages 98-99

Mammad Araz
Come On, Rise Up, Azerbaijan!

Mammad Ibrahimov was born on October 14, 1933, in the village of Nurs in the Shahbuz region of Nakhchivan. Araz, his pen name, identifies the river that became the border separating present-day Azerbaijan and Iran when Azerbaijan was divided more than 180 years ago.

He studied with the Geography Faculty of Azerbaijan Pedagogical Institute (1950-1954) and began his career as a teacher at the secondary school in his native village. Later he worked at the Main Press Office in Baku (1957-1959) and went on to study literature in Moscow (1959-1961).

Araz has worked on the editorial offices at Maarif Publication House in Baku (1961-1963), the Department of Fiction of the Azerbaijan State Publication House (1966-1967), Ulduz Magazine (1967-1970), Literature and Art newspaper (1970-1972) and Azerbaijan State Publication House (1972-1974). He is the editor of "Nature of Azerbaijan" magazine since 1974.

His poetry was first published in 1952 with the poem, "Be Always on, My Lights" (Yanin Ishiglarim) published in "Revolution and Culture" (Ingilab va Madaniyyat) Magazine.

Araz has received numerous honors including: Honored Culture Worker (1978), Laureate of Republican State Award (1988), People's Poet (1990) and Istiglal (Independence) order.

His books of poetry include the following: "Love Song" (Sevgi Naghmasi), "Father of Three Sons" (Uch Oghul Atasi), "Araz River is Flowing" (Araz Akhir), "Life Caravan" (Omur Karvani), "The World is Yours, The World is Mine" (Dunya Sanin, Dunya Manim), "The Sound Written on the Rocks" (Gayalara Yazilan Sas).

Mammad Araz' poem, "Come on, Rise Up, Azerbaijan" (1992) was translated into English and published in Azerbaijan International, AI 7.1 (Spring 1999).

The poems, which we have selected here for translation, were originally published in Azeri and can be found in "Selected Works by Mammad Araz", Volume 1, 2003. Aynura Huseinova translated these poems into English with the exception of two done by Aytan Aliyeva ("Guests During One's Lifetime" and "If There Were No War"). These works were edited in English by Betty Blair.

The Flower which Appeared in the Wrong Season

I would not restrain myself,
If there were no rules, no traditions.
I would not hold back,
If children who call me "Father" had not pulled me back.

You have the right to get angry with me,
What to do?
Life has no second spring.
The mansion of love is not accessible to everyone.

Now you resemble a flower,
Growing unseasonably under the snow.
If I don't pick you, the storm will slay you,
If I do, you will fade away in my hands, dear one.


Comfort me in my difficult days,
I can do without food and water.
If you visit me as I draw my last breath,
Bring some hope in your eyes.

When you feel the last alarm,
You don't feel hunger for food or water,
Yes, at the last minute, at the last breath,
You long for consolation.

If There Were No War

If there were no war,
We could construct a bridge between Earth and Mars
Melting weapons in an open-hearth furnace.

If there were no war,
The harvest of a thousand years could grow in one day.
Scientists could bring the moon and stars to Earth.

The eyes of the general also says:
"I would be chairman in a small village
If there were no war!"

If there were no war,
We could avoid untimely deaths
Our hair would gray very late.

If there were no war,
We would face
Neither grief, nor parting.

If there were no war,
The bullet of mankind would be his word,
And the word of mankind would be love.

How Can I Forget You

Look, the house seems so empty,
My everything is gone with you.
Not only my heart and soul,
But the sense of comfort and sleep have also left me.

The only way to rest for a second,
Is to get you out of my mind.
But why, just like grass and water -
Why are you everywhere I look?

When I venture as a traveler,
You turn into endless grassland,
When I try to forget you at night -
You turn into night itself,
During the day - you become light itself.

When I climb the mountains,
The thunder reminds me of you,
As does the wind, blowing my hair.
Maybe we are two different saz
1, with the same strings,
You, blood; me, heart - so inseparable.

Brighten my heart for a moment,
Don't be so cruel to me!
There is no way for me to forget you,
I would have to forget myself forever!
To give up on to you,
I would have to give up on myself - forever!

Let's Find a Way

Let's find a way to live, my dear,
So that we don't pass away untimely,
So that we don't bump into an unexpected death.
Let's find a way to pass over the bridges of separation.
Let's find a way so that we don't get carried away by jealousy.
Let's find a way to live, my dear,
So that we don't become reliant on anyone else.
Let's build a safe haven for ourselves
Where true love can find refuge,
And heal unnecessary anger.
Let's find a way to live, my dear,
So that when the web of betrayal tries to capture us,
Our sincerity will tear it down.
Can we do it?
- Yes, we can!
There's only one condition,
We have to remove the borders
Between "mine" and "yours" and "theirs".

Guests During One's Lifetime

Someone is knocking at my door.
"Hey, who's knocking?"
"I'm Memory.
I've brought a letter from your first love."
(An angry woman appears in the kitchen.
The person knocking disappears with the letter.)

Again, a knock at the door.
"Hey, who's knocking?"
"I'm Praise!"
"Do you have anything to drink?"
"No, I don't!"
"Then go on writing!"
(Praise leaves).

Knock, knock.
"Who are you?"
"It's me - Need!
Open the door!"
"What news?
I haven't seen you for a long time."
"It seems the less you see of me, the more you miss me."
"Your neighbor gets a wage equivalent to five salaries
Another man buys a car."
"By God, let me write!"

Again knock, knock.
"Who's that?"
"Your friend, Latest News!"
This damned world hasn't collapsed:
Our century is the century of diplomacy, hey brother!
They speak about peace, carrying bombs in their pockets.
Two more of your poems were rejected
Because of your friends there."
"Give me some peace! Let me breathe!"

Again a knock at the door.
"Who do you want?"
"I'm Fame!"
"Welcome, who are you looking for?"
"Mammad Araz"
"Brother, you're late.
He doesn't live here any more."
"Where does he live now?"
"It's near this place -
There's a grave over which a woman is crying,
That's where you'll find him now."

End Notes:

1 Saz is a traditional stringed instrument upon which minstrels improvise folk songs and legends.

2 "They speak of peace, carrying bombs in their pockets" meaning that his friends are double-faced and superficial and, in reality, don't support him.

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