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The Literary Groong - 03/22/2003

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	Wedding in the Village

	By Shushan Avagyan

	Noon - the hour of observance -
	a yellow frenzy spreading
	over the neighboring hills -
	zourna bellows wildly
	in a coarse duet with the dhol,
	as dancing arms and feet
	form tightly knotted circles
	of loud human carousels.

	Enters the bride,
	timidly hiding her face in a veil,
	white and translucent,
	then successively - the groom -
	young man with rosy cheeks
	holding a silver dagger
	in his hand -

	hooked to its point
	is a red flushing apple -
	the luscious fruit - a symbol
	for virginity
	of the nubile bride.

	This tradition, faithfully
	kept from generation
	to generation
	is the core of the dance,
	threading a contagious smile
	throughout the Urartian faces
	of the pagan crowds.

	Then, the trays of food,
	and smell of barbecued meat
	trailing into the streets -
	the feast is at its climax -
	wine and toasts
	spill everywhere -
	filling the air with a happy drunkenness.
	Everyone is talking, laughing,


	except for the bride -
	frightened and shy
	she sits quietly at the table -
	her eyes fixed to the ground.


--
Shushan Avagyan was born in Yerevan, Armenia, attended the Melkonian
Educational Institute in Cyprus, and graduated from Cedar Crest
College, Allentown, PA, with a degree in Book Arts/Printmaking. She
has translated many texts, including Vazken Azatian's third edition of
"Armenia: A Guidebook", published in 1999. Shushan received the Second
Poetry Prize at the Hildegard Festival of Women in the Arts 2003, and
the First Prize at the 2002 Armenian Allied Arts Association's
Literature Contest. She writes in Armenian and English, and also
translates Armenian feminist literature.

Copyright  2003 Shushan Avagyan.

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