Pan's Lament

Grandmothers wore sadness wrapped in black.
Pan’s duduk no longer moved their feet in dance.
The young wore rape and shame like the end
of a world where their lives had been broken.
Sons and lovers, husbands and brothers,
their blood running over the heavy stones of betrayal.

When I left my Armenia and my mother
like a thief in the night, the outcast, the coward,
I saw my father’s face ripped away by a Turkish bullet
before I stole away, and all I felt was hot pee
running down my stockings, smelling of fear.
I had reached the bottom of my chasm,
the six-year old could not climb up.

What do I remember? Not my father’s face.
Nor can I recall my mother’s. Pourasdan, my sister,
was full of life, her skirts whirling to Pan’s
enchantment. That was before. The only
one left to receive me, I found an old woman
with dead eyes. Who am I?

I have climbed to the highest peak around
my village. Across the valley a mountain top has chosen
to be dressed in virgin white. Give us back our innocence,
so we can dance again. Pan’s lament
is floating up on the evening mist, haunting
my memories, weaving bereavement, singing my chasm
where I now find a wistful symmetry.
I will not be sad in this world.


first published in 'Poetry Quarterly'

Rose Mary Boehm's picture

A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Peru. Two novels (COMING UP FOR AIR and THE TELLING) as well as a collection of her poems (TANGENTS) have been published in the UK. Many recent poems have been published - or are about to be published - in mainly US poetry reviews such as 'Toe Good', 'Burning Word', 'Other Rooms', 'Full of Crow', 'Poetry Quarterly', 'Verse Wisconsin', 'Punchnel's' and quite a few others.

Last updated September 09, 2015