(after Hovhannes Toumanian, 1869-1923)
under darkening skies,
he leaps into troubled waters.
Rending the waves,
he needs neither sail nor oar
to reach the gray-cliffed isle remote.
A beacon burns,
glinting like a distant star,
guiding him through the infinite night.
Upon that island
the lovely Tamar is waiting,
beneath a shelter there.
under skies of velvet black,
pulling through star-crossed swells,
ripple and foam,
hiss and murmur, cyanide sweet,
envy, spite, and poisoned piety.
skitter on lakeside stones.
Father, why hast thou forsaken me?
Tamar's gentle heart beats
in fearful synchrony,
pounding and resounding, wave on wave.
Scornful whispers near and far
turn in time to pathos and regret,
and the spectral lover moans, “Akh, Tamar!”