From the publisher
DESTINY AND RADIANCE
Few are the ones who land on this earth heaven-bound — an earth that vacillates between eternal lullaby and endless inequity — and for a flashing moment, from a hidden corner, offer their light in totality, only to vanish in a sudden whim of fate. They yield their rays and take their leave.
But Areen is there that day. In Stepanakert, Artsakh, her father, mother and I are sitting in a hotel room. We are looking at copies of Areen's drawings with her mother, Sona. Her father, Haroutune reads the poems, remembering the day, the moment of practically each one. He insists that they be published not as memorial, but only if they reflect poetic merit. I listen in reverence; having gone through that road of adolescent stammering, doubts, I feel where Areen has agonized to keep the moment authentic, her search and discovery of the right word, of the proper style (the contour of the poem's body on the page is important to her), her confidence in her voice, and her success in expressing herself with the least possible words. But Areen doesn't care about these, she speaks with eyes of black pearl in the heart of Artsakh, standing in the midst of a rainbow, she floods "the dream of the world warmed in radiance" with gifts of laughter:
The rooster raises its voice
to introduce the sun to the world
awakening the carol of the birds.
Outside, the wind bends over and straightens up, Areen draws, dances, paints:
The first ray of the sun
tears the darkness of our world.
A flighty adolescence with newly awakened emotions, the poetic diction of a child, whose purity of enchantment is animated
in every single poem. The scope of her interests is not paltry; her spirit, in the colors of a dawn opening up to the world, has the sense of galactic infinity, the incertitude of what is yet to be, shedding trees, birthplace and homeland, witticisms in "Old Men" or "Blue", original images - the Masis duo, father and son, wear cotton bonnets; she isn't satiated with what is offered, she knows that Mount Ararat has still tales to tell her, and there is the boundless imagination reflecting in the story of "That Tall, Mysterious and Majestic Mountain". The poetic field of a girl nine to fifteen, from the glimmer of a newly born glance to its engram, when she describes the lonely leaf hanging from a single bough. But she disconnects the threads of death, Areen wants to fly, to submerge, to give, then she finds some things; for example in "The Sea" she finds the reality of not finding.
Warmth is ever-present in her lines; after describing its countenance, she lets autumn in, she sees the crackling logs and their fragrance over the mountains. That is; the complete glance — synchronizing the inner and outer worlds.
"Three Seasons" is a collection of Areen Armenian's Armenian and English poems. Some poems have been translated by Tatul Sonentz with superb skill and deep sensitivity. Those translated from Armenian to English are marked with an asterisk just before the date. The book has been enhanced with Areen's drawings, which entice the reader to wander between text and picture — and beyond.
This book is a life, it could be read as currents of vibrant and unsophisticated lines, it could also be read as the thoughts of a lively and dying girl, and think not of the life that was hers, but of the meaning that she left us from that life. When death cast its dark shadow on her, she still clung to life, described the springtime rebirth, then the inevitable moment of introspection arrived when she told spring: "But you cannot be as sad as I am, when you know you shall return". There is no escape, no fear, she returns life to its meaning -- there is a life independent of her, and hers is a part of it.
Nature and life, thinking and dying, meaning in laughter, humane tremors in silence; she wants to change the world, love is the road to peace, and tolerance is a form of salvation. Naturally, she has no problems of black and white, all races deserve the same respect. She knows how to empathize for the welfare of humanity, and she finds her conquest in the smile of others.
I cannot help but wonder, had she lived, what would Areen have done? The caroling spirit running free under the caress of the sun would have reached a summer ripeness; a melancholic autumn where not even a single leaf would remain hanging on a bough; a winter, covering all traces, every nook and corner. But she would remain enchanted and strong, because that is how she had come to this world, heaven-bound, with joyful cymbals, with the belief that she could stop evil, and with a wisdom that intimidates death:
Feel the sorrow
Share the pain
And let the tears run
But do not Mourn forever.
Remember the joys And remember the laughter...
For youngsters, in general, courage is hard to come by, while smiles are effortless. It was the exact opposite for Areen, but she made it so easy, that the two became one in the cosmic nucleus that recognizes neither age, nor experience, only pure creative resonance. And although Areen is now far away, a distant angel, she has left us this panorama of green sounds, her very own field heralding enchantment and kindness through the cracks of a cruel fate. This is how art conquers death, there comes the day when the paw of destiny diminishes, while the window of the poet remains open.
March 10, 1996 VEHANOUSH TEKIAN
Paramus, New Jersey