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Daniel Varoujan: The Flickering Lamp

A poem a day
International WWI Poetry Month

The Flickering Lamp

Daniel Varoujan (Armenia, 1915)

This is a night for feast and triumph,
    Pour oil into the lamp, O Bride,
My boy returns a victor from war —
    Trim well, trim well the wick, O Bride.

A waggon stops before the door, beside the well,
    Light up, light up the lamp, O Bride,
My boy returns, bay leaves on his brow —
    Bring up, bring up the lamp, O Bride.

Lo — with grief and blood the waggon’s laden —
    Hold up, hold up the lamp, O Bride.
Here lies my valiant son shot through the heart —
    O…snuff out, snuff out the lamp, O Bride.