Weeping for Karabakh

Weeping for Karabakh

Poet and playwrighter Leyla Begim dedicated "a poem or a wreath of non-traditional sonnets" to Heydar Dzhemal.



Karabakh, by God you are crowned,

Fields and mountains laced with dew

Hear my voice serenading you -

With compassionate crooning sounds…


In my poems the rivers are flowing,

Carrying dreams I have cherished, my darling…

Like the bells my lyrics are chiming,

Words of blessing on people bestowing…


Nests of birds are ruined, abandoned,

Turned to caverns by treacherous vultures,

Not a singing but hissing instead…


I'm emptied, in pain - I am stranded…

You’re my country’s lamentable chapter,

Karabakh, devastated by bloodshed…




Karabakh, devastated by bloodshed,

In my dream you were glittering gold,

With the withering hills, fold by fold,

With the woods that were foggy and red…


But the ravens were cawing, starved,

Circling over your burial mounds,

So frightening were those sounds...

I woke up - and my soul was carved.


How I’d look in your emerald eyes,

How I’d lean on your shoulders with love,

How I’d plunge in your arms, widely spread…


You are drained by the bullets and mines,

Karabakh, how to help you, my dove?

Vultures pecking the bones of the dead.




Vultures pecking the bones of the dead.

On your meadows the grass is vile,

And your golden mustangs exiled,

Seeking refuge in rocky beds.


Barefooted, the people were fleeing

Through the mountain snowy passes,

Mortar shells turned alive into ashes,

And the earth - twisted, tortured - was screaming.


Karabakh, my beloved, you are bleeding,

Half-alive is your body, half-dead,

You are wrapped in no carpets, no shrouds.


Your inglorious fame is weeping,

Brutal beasts stomped upon your bread.

Bitter tears are sown in your ground…




Bitter tears are sown in your ground.

The rebellious wind bursts with energy

To the altar of our memory -

Turkic throne that your fame renowned.


Songs of falcons, the kings of the sky,

Tuned with verse of Qajar’s Lady Sun

Grudge invaded your land, Natavan!

Trampled is our holiest shrine…


But my verse, the ebullient rhapsody,

Raises up to the heights, Karabakh!

My devotion to you I proclaim.


Chant ashiks their solemn melodies,

I will reach you, believe me, my love,

Through the bleeding and wounded trails.




Through the bleeding and wounded trails

I will rush to the castles, unbowed,

To the beautiful banks of flowers,

Their breath to my verse I’ll inhale.


I am lured by the Khan palaces,

Singing hymns of fondness and happiness.

My beloved, I don’t think of jealousy,

Being apart with you is my nemesis.


You are whispering: “Hey, my beauty!”

And a glow is caressing your cheeks

With the colors from fairy tales…


Time is running, I’m wrapped in its cruelty…

Be my strength when my knees are weak.

I am treading amidst the graves…




I am treading amidst the graves…

Days and nights, embraced by my fate.

I will take all your sorrows away

With my verse, with my love refrains.


In my poems like flowers on a wreath

All my prayers for you will be woven.

You will soar with valor, my falcon.

Skies will dance to the rhythm of your breath.


You’re surrounded by rumors and myths,

You’re a dream for the kings and the caliphs,

By your glory the world is enslaved,


Span your pastures and golden terrain…

But your soil is throbbing with pain,

Here lie our immortal braves.




Here lie our immortal braves.

Many years flew like an instant.

I walk down the road of existence,

Keeping memories of the bygone days.


Somber words of your lyrical soloists

Had the colors of sad premonition.

Turned to seers your poets, musicians,

Singing their grief-stricken melodies.


Rings Boyat with mugham's weeping chords,

With my passionate rhymes they resound,

Flies my verse through your hills and dales…


Answer me, I yearn for your words!

Torn asunder, in rue we’re drowned…

Wounds unhealed and the heart is frail…




Wounds unhealed and the heart is frail…

Strangled, choked in a shell of bitterness,

You are facing the years of emptiness

Like a widow in shadowed veil.


All your mosques are ruined and razed.

Torn to shreds, you are plundered and aching.

Here the Devil himself was playing

Desecrating your body with blade.


How I wish I could climb your mountains,

Breathing air with spirits rising,

Greeting morning’s awakening beams,


Seeing ineffable flowers sprouting

And vivacious spring arriving

Through the fresh and reviving streams…




Through the fresh and reviving streams

I would reach Topkhana and the gulch

Where the scary silvans indulged,

And the trees in the moonlight gleamed…


But the brutal and merciless slayers

Executed your notable elders.

Dignified, they refused to surrender,

Their remains are in frozen layers…


Will the sun go down forever?!

Will our life be the law of the gun?

Have we come to this world to fight?


Karabakh, you won't fall, not ever!

You will shine, be it under the sun

Or the glistering crescent light…




In the glistering crescent light

To the heavens my rhymes aspired,

Turning welkin to graceful lyre

That was gliding along the sky.


Violated, consigned to oblivion

Was the grave of you lyrical faery.

You foresaw looming days, Ashiq Peri,

In your verse, so sad, not resilient…


Karabakh, suffocated in anguish

When your boundless freedom imprisoned…

We're apart and my heart is blue…


But your spirit will never languish,

In my dream I had solacing vision:

Flocks of angels will sail to you.




Flocks of angels will sail to you.

Please await them, regain your power

In defiance of Death, the mower,

Who ordained that your term was due…


Nothing ever will break us apart.

I will hear you breathing, I know.

Vernal winds like the poems will blow,

Like Rashid you will sing: “My sweetheart”…


«We will meet with that lass», my dear.

Light will come through the sunless hours,

No longer your blood will spill.


Strings of lyre will sound crystal clear,

Glorifying your wondrous flowers

In accord with the nightingale trills.




In accord with the nightingale trills

Rustling sounds of spring will be chiming,

And the trees will be softly sighing

With the leaves, coldly pure and still.


You will give them your fatherly care,

Thawing frost in their withered hearts.

And the fields, on the garments white,

Their burgeoning blossoms will wear.


Karabakh, don’t give up, my adored.

You will bring back your name with honor,

Our country’s illustrious child.


Your sublimity will be restored.

Spreading out your wings like banners,

Once again you will rise with pride.




Once again you will rise with pride.

All your torments and pangs will be healed,

And her beauty Shusha will reveal

With her fame as the royal bride.


I will enter your gorgeous land,

Wonderstruck, to your feet I will bow,

Kiss your wounds and proclaim a vow:

My fiancé, we’ll walk hand in hand.


Far from you I was spending my youth,

Watching your silhouette from a distance.

We were living in dark solitude.


Gone through sorrow, remorse and ruth,

You are fighting with solid resistance,

Wounded, tortured but never subdued.




Wounded, tortured but never subdued

Is your spirit – unbroken and cherished.

Your heroic sons never perished,

Their deeds with valor imbued.


Truth of living is somewhere near,

People tend to seek it in wealth,

It’s a sign of unblemished health,

But we’re tested through heavy ordeals.


Through the trailers of hope my verse

Runs to you, with my soul elevated.

Can you hear its melodious sounds?


Swirls of mist will soon be dispersed.

You’re the gem that the Earth created,

Karabakh, by God you are crowned!




Karabakh, by God you are crowned.

Karabakh, devastated by bloodshed,

Vultures pecking the bones of the dead…

Bitter tears are sown in your ground…


Through the bleeding and wounded trails,

I am treading amidst the graves,

Here lie our immortal braves…

Wounds unhealed and the heart is frail…


Through the fresh and reviving streams,

Under glistering crescent light

Flocks of angels will sail to you.


In accord with the nightingale trills

Once again you will rise with pride -

Wounded, tortured, but never subdued…


Vestnik Kavkaza

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