THE WISHING TREE
ECHO INNOCENCE SH-H-H-SH-H
Opposed to the vision of destruction is the vision of creation.
About 194 feet away from our house on the road to the spring, my father had a little garden…
In the Garden of Wish Fulfillment there was a blue rock half buried in the black earth with a few patches of moss placed here and there like fallen clouds… Above all this stood and enormous tree all bleached under the sun, the rain, the cold, and deprived of leaves. This was the holy tree.
I myself don’t know why the tree in the Garden of Wish Fulfillment was holy, but I had witnessed many people, whoever did pass by, that would tear voluntarily a strip of their clothes and attach this to the tree. Thus, through many years of the same act like a veritable parade of banners under the pressure of wind, all these personal inscriptions of signatures very softly to my innocent ear used to give echo to the sh-h-h-sh-h of silver leaves of the poplars.
(b. 1904, Van, Turkey. d. 1948, Sherman, CT.)
artist’s statement for the painting “Garden in Sochi,” 1941 (MoMA)
THE DREAM VESSEL
HUGGING HOPE ROAD
In commemoration of the Centennial Year of the Armenian Genocide, The Dream Garden Team invites everyone to participate in The Wishing Tree Project’s interactive Dream Vessels on-line, and at various on-site locations.
Please document your thoughts and questions, personal stories, wishes and prayers on themes of: the Armenian Genocide, and/or crimes of humanity in general (e.g. past/present, personal/universal, spiritual/political), and how, at our crossroads, the future for a more just, honest and peaceful world can be achieved.
- Your annotations will be collected as “dream strips” to grace the memorial, art installation in tandem with the 2016/2017 NYC world premiere of GORKY’S DREAM GARDEN.
- You can share your wishes through the On-Line Dream Vessel below.
- Other ways you can share your wishes: Write out your “dream strips” on paper and send them via Post to:
The Wishing Tree Project
c/o Ms. Gilda Kupelian
St. Vartan Cathedral
630 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10016
- Fill out the blank “dream strips” at the on-site Dream Vessels placed at various locations (Armenian community churches, cultural centers).
NOW is the time for people to come TOGETHER.
LANDSCAPE TABLE HIGH-PLACE
The following poem “Prayer on the Threshold of Tomorrow” was written in 1930 by Vahan Tekeyan. An Armenian poet exiled in Cairo, Vahan Tekeyan (born 1878 in Constantinople and died April 4,1948) is regarded as one of the most accomplished poets to write in the Armenian language. He explored through his writing the psychological and emotional impact of the Armenian Genocide. Tekeyan survived the genocide by accident. He was out of the country when the Turkish government rounded up the Armenian leaders in Istanbul, including prominent writers, and executed them. He was profoundly disturbed by the fate that befell his fellow writers and his faith in God was shaken, but not broken. Many of his poems beg of God to explain why the Armenians were made the victims of this tragedy.
In GORKY’S DREAM GARDEN, segments of the poem are delivered by the Black Monk’s opening monologue to the spiritual song “So Be It” at the Sorrowful Intermezzo between ACTs II and III. The legendary late African-American, folk-singer Richie Havens (“Woodstock’) premiered the early beginnings of this song that set the blueprint of the opera. This formative music was posed as the final movement of Ekizian’s SYMPHONY NO. 1: WHEN LIGHT DIVIDED premiered at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine for the Interfaith Committee’s 1995 Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. Before the start of the music of the symphony, Havens recited the Tekeyan poem. Havens and the music received a five-minute standing ovation by an audience of over 8,000 people from all walks of life. People to this day remember the performance.
Prayer on the Threshold of Tomorrow
by Vahan Tekeyan
Look. New sprouts push through the fields.
But which are thorns and which wheat
I do not know.
Perhaps to the appetite that is sated
all is chaff,
while to the hungry
all is wheat.
Undistinguishable sounds, blows, footfalls
thud in the distance,
an agonizing attack,
where the oppressed plant red flames
with their blood,
and the rains sweat and expand into floods
that shake the walls of the oldest dams.
Lord, now is the time to send your wisdom and kindness
to the tortured who, although they have forgotten,
need you as they hurl themselves closer to the precipice.
Oh God, who trimmed the wick of the mind
and poured the oil of life,
do not let your lamps be overturned.
Let them illuminate paths to your truth.
Plant love in the eyes of today’s and tomorrow’s mighty.
Do not let their hearts close.
And do not let the hearts of the children and the aged
be strangers to tenderness and hope.
Let the struggle of our time be short.
Let it be settled with justice.
Let the fortress of egos,
that huge barricade, crumble.
And let every treasure go to every man.
Let every garden gate open.
But let no flower be crushed,
No single branch fall.
Hear the late Richie Havens recite this poem:
Translated from Armenian to English by Diana Der Hovanessian and Marsbed Margossian: Sacred Wrath, Poems of Vahan Tekeyan, New York. Ashod Press. 1982.
WARNING! Unauthorized reproduction, broadcast, distribution and commercial use of this copyrighted poem, its translation and this archival recording are PROHIBITED BY LAW! Permission for use and distribution of this material must be obtained from Michelle Ekizian: firstname.lastname@example.org
On-Line Dream Vessel
Write your wishes and thoughts in the fields below. You may choose for your entry to identify yourself, or to appear anonymously.