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The Literary Groong - December 25, 2004

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	CHANT FOR THE NEW YEAR

	By Diana Der Hovanessian

		    According to Tacitus, Tiridates I, the king of Armenia
		    Went to Rome in 63 AD by land, refusing to pollute the sea.
					    Robert Thomson, Harvard University


	On Vanatour
	on New Year's Day,
	arise and bless the coming
	hours.

	On Vanatour
	on such a day
	the doors unlatch
	and deck themselves
	with winter flowers.

	On such a day King Drtad
	whom the Romans called
	the Magus, started
	on his journey west
	on his black horse
	sent him by
	his Mazdean brother
	the Parthian king,
	following the sun
	westward on his dark
	horse that trailed the year.

	He went by land
	by sand, by shore
	and over mountain roads
	to Rome
	not to pollute the treasures
	of the sea
	where Mithra slept,
	where Mithra kept,
	the image of the sun,
	and all the golden swords;
	not to pollute the place of rest
	where the sun god slept
	and from where he comes
	when Armenians call
	"Aramazd.

	Mher. Mihr,
	arise and bless
	the newest day
	of the New Year".

--
Diana Der Hovanessian is a Fulbright professor of American literature
at Yerevan State University in 1994 and 1999, she is author of 17
books and has published in American Scholar, Poetry, Harvard Review,
Nation, Paris Review, New Republic, and her poetry is regularly
published in the Christian Science Monitor. She has awards from the
Columbia Translation Center, P.E.N., Writers Union of America, and the
Writers Union of Armenia.

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