The Dance

Pare che io ultimamente non faccia che pubblicare recensioni, perciò oggi vi vorrei proporre altro.
Si tratta di una poesia dell’armeno Siamanto (1878-1915), a proposito di un fatto storico di cui poco si parla: il genocidio armeno. Non sono riuscita a trovare la traduzione italiana, non so neanche se esista (se qualcuno ne conosce l’esistenza me lo faccia sapere), perciò vi dovrete accontentare di quella inglese di Peter Balakian e Nevart Yaghlian.
Se volete sapere qualcosa di più su questa pagina misconosciuta di storia mondiale (e sempre più europea) non troverete pagina più ricca di link di questa. Qualcuno si stupirà che si tratti del sito di una cantante: ebbene, è così. Già che ci siete ascoltatevi qualche audio sample, se ancora ce la farete dopo aver letto quanto segue.

* * *

In a field of cinders where Armenian life was still dying,
a German woman, trying not to cry
told me the horror she witnessed:

"This thing I’m telling you about,
I saw with my own eyes,
behind my window of hell
I clenched my teeth
and watched the town of Bardez turn
into a heap of ashes.
The corpses were piled high as trees,
and from the springs, from the streams and the road,
the blood was a stubborn murmur,
and still calls revenge in my ear.

Don’t be afraid; I must tell you what I saw.
So people will understand
the crimes men do to men.
For two days, by the road to the graveyard…

Let the hearts of the world understand,
it was Sunday morning,
the first useless Sunday dawning on the corpses.
From dawn to dusk I had been in my room
with a stabbed woman –
my tears wetting her death –
when I heard from afar
a dark crowd standing in a vineyard
lashing twenty brides
and singing filthy songs.

Leaving the half-dead girl on the straw mattress,
I went to the balcony of my window
and the crowd seemed to thicken like a clump of trees
an animal of a man shouted, "You must dance,
dance when our drum beats."
With fury whips cracked
on the flesh of these women.
Hand in hand the brides began their circle dance.
Now, I envied my wounded neighbor
because with a calm snore she cursed
the universe and gave up her soul to the stars…

"Dance," they raved,
"dance till you die, infidel beauties
with your flapping tits, dance!
Smile for us. You’re abandoned now,
you’re naked slaves,
so dance like a bunch of fuckin’ sluts.
We’re hot for your dead bodies."
Twenty graceful brides collapsed.
"Get up," the crowd screamed,
brandishing their swords.

Then someone brought a jug of kerosene.
Human justice, I spit in your face.
The brides were anointed.
"Dance," they thundered –
"here’s a fragrance you can’t get in Arabia."

With a torch, they set
the naked brides on fire.
And the charred bodies rolled
and tumbled to their deaths…

I slammed my shutters,
sat down next to my dead girl
and asked: "How can I dig out my eyes?"

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