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Poems that wrote him – the works of Titsian Tabidze

Prepared by Levan Abramishvili
Friday, April 12
Yesterday, we showcased the poetry of Galaktion Tabidze. Today we take a look at the works of his cousin, Titsian Tabidze, a famous Georgian symbolist poet, born on March 21, 1895. After getting education at the University of Moscow, he returned to Georgia and became one of the cofounders of the Blue Horns.

Blue Horns was a group of Georgian symbolist poets and prose-writers. They were established in 1915 in Kutaisi and were active during the 1920, but, starting from the early 30s, Soviet regime deemed the group tasteless and useless and started suppressing the members and their ideas.

He fell victim to Joseph Stalin’s Great Purge in 1937, he was arrested, tortured and eventually executed on fabricated charges of treason.

Known for always wearing a red carnation flower on his suits, Tabidze combined European and Oriental trends into eclectic poetry, which leaned towards Futurism and Dadaism, while also paying tribute to the classics of Georgian literature.

“Those who appreciate words that provoke as well as soothe will find in Titsian qualities unmatched by his more famous cousin [referring to Galaktion Tabidze]. Titsian's political conscience gives his poetry a force absent from other Soviet poetry written during the 1920's and 1930's. In his ability combine classical aesthetics with a critique of power, he stands alone.” – writes Rebecca Gould, the translator of the poems presented.

Poems Write Me
I don't write poems.
Poems write me.
This poem walks with my life.
A poem is a landslide
which carries me away
and buries me alive.

I was born in the month of April
when the apple blossoms bloomed.
White rains on me. I become a storm
Tears stream from my eyes.

These tears tell me I will die.
I ask only that my words remain.
If I touch only one poet's heart,
my prize surpasses fame.

They will pity the poor boy,
who dwelled by the river's edge.
Poems were his viaticum,
poetry his guide.

The Georgian earth and sky
tortured him until he died.
They hid from him the happiness
he gave to his poems.

I don't write poems.
Poems write me.
This poem walks with my life.
A poem is a landslide
which carries me away
and buries me alive.

The Birth Of Poetry
Sky and earth
make a bridge on Mt. Elbrus.
The mountain’s ringing recalls
the giant who fought Prometheus.
You created the poplar tree
from a lovely Circassian women.
The mountaineer’s cloak
does not tear easily.

Burgundy sky, mountain of wine,
the Black Sea soaks the earth.
Elbrus stands, an ancient guard.
The storm rages furiously.
I have nothing to fear except the snow
that gathers into an avalanche
and melts in my body beneath the sun.

Sky and earth
make a bridge on Elbrus.
The mountain’s ringing recalls
the giant who fought Prometheus.
My heart is buried here.
We await the flood.
Our wings will stay the storm.
We share an abyss,
and wait for time to come.

For Galaktion Tabidze

Our fathers rot in the cemetery together,
on the edge of our village,
where the wind blows both ways.
One name made us twins.

We drank from the same breast,
and now our poems stand side by side,
the yards of our verse undivided,
one house, one door.

Poems follow us like a river's current.
We were baptized in the same font,
written in these same double lines.
Our ears were inscribed with these same sounds.

The fields' melodies bring carts of news
and troubadours, serenading the roads,
and thorns, caressing our bare feet in this,
paradise. I fell in love with you,
my village, where the wind blows both ways.

The laurel wreath blinded you in childhood.
We sing together with the toad's heavenly orchestra.
Now the hungry wolves roar in their pits.
The mud is as deep as dinosaur graves.

Our spades and sickles are rusty with disuse.
Someone took the bell from the tower.
Our mothers bake offerings
of bread, blessed by their tears.

If only the good people
would dare to return.
If only someone were left alive
in this cursed world.

When Bandits Killed Me On The Banks Of The Aragvi
As I approach the Darial,
I leave Cherkessia behind.
A loncly drop left in the Tergi
floods my heart like a sea.

A ripped sky weeps over me. Glaciers
gleam beyond the shattered firmament.
The wild Tergi River,
madly in love with the Darial
washes my cheeks.

My demon chases me over the steep abyss.
Mountains spread like a giant's muscles.
I feel the weight of the
iron chain he will bind to my neck.

I know what fate awaits me
and I know it serves me right.
My dear, I am no lover of empty words.
I am no bragger of suicide.

But the storm hurls me
into an emptiness of endless ravines.
You're a woman-that's why
my other lovers burn your jealousy.

I want to be the epic wanderer of past times
who battled our tiger that dreadful night.
My soul teems with your grief.
My body floods with your tears.

I crossed Dagestan. I saw Gunib.
I, an infidel, now a shahid.
My sword is an arrow; it will not bend
though it may kill me.
The sky drowns the mountains in snow.
The peaks stand tall as a guillotine.
When the deluge returns,
when the dinosaur roams,
the wind will utter its vengeful tones.
I see the ghost of a nest, ravaged by eagles.
My eyes recall my shame.
How did they embalm these cliffs?
Why did they exterminate this sky?
Georgia, this mountain's grief belongs to you.
Our bones rot beside our swords and bayonets,
I pity my gangrened Georgian flesh.
Those who gave their lives are safe in paradise.
As for you who remain behind,
my Georgian brothers, memory has no mercy.
Tonight, the wind shudders.
Shamil prays for his men.
You sold us into slavery, you spoiled the battle.
The night won't weep for cowards under a foreign sky.
I never pulled the fatal trigger.
I never donned the fighter's armor.
But this battle moves even me to ecstasy.
I don't want to be a poet drunk on blood.
Let this day be my penitence.
Let my poems wash away your treachery.