Azerbaijan International

Spring 2004 (12.1)

Ramiz Rovshan
The Sky Cannot Hold a Stone!

Poet and film script writer Ramiz Mammadali oghlu Aliyev was born in Baku on December 15, 1946. He adopted "Rovshan" as his pen name. The word means light and also identifies the main rebellious character in the legend of Koroghlu.

Rovshan graduated from the Philology Faculty of Azerbaijan State University (1969). He took a two-year filmmaking course in Moscow in 1978. His poems, stories are regularly published in literary magazines such as: Azerbaijan, Ulduz and Gobustan.

Several films are based on his scripts: "The Grandfather of my Grandfather's Grandfather" (Babamizin Babasinin Babasi, 1981), "The reapers from City" (Shaharli Bichinchilar, 1985), "The Pain of Milk Tooth," "Another Time," and "Life Tree."

Rovshan is the author of the books such as "Rainy Day" (Yaghishli Geja), "The Sky Cannot Hold a Stone" (Goy Uzu Dash Sakhlamaz), and "Butterfly Wings".

The poems published here were translated by Aynura Huseinova and edited by Betty Blair.

The Sky Cannot Hold a Stone

Hey guy, throwing stones up in the sky
The sky cannot hold a stone!
My son, what happened to your head?
Who cut your hair?
Who gave you this funny look?

Hey guy, throwing stones up in the sky
Your pants and jacket are bigger than you,
The sky is wider than your eyes.

Feeling pity for you,
The sky will hold the stones for awhile.
Keeping the stones in its hand,
The sky will test you for years.
The sky will keep those stones,
Until hair grows back on your head,
Until your clear eyes become blurry.

You will eat what you have,
You will wear what you have,
You will grow up, my son.
Your eyes will become larger as you grow,
The tears will grow in your eyes.
Your hands will grow bigger, as you grow
The stones will grow bigger,
Which you have thrown up in the sky.

If fate smiles at you,
If your death is a little late.
If you could build up a fence or a house,
From those stones on Earth.

If your life lasts as a rainbow,
You will get a bit of each color.
When your grave is dug on Earth,
Maybe the gravestone will come down from the sky.

Hey guy, throwing stones up in the sky
The sky doesn't hold a stone.

With What Fury This Bird Sings


With what fury this bird sings.
It sounds more like a curse than a song,
It almost seems to bark,
It's half bird, half dog.

There is no bird on earth,
That understands the language of this bird.
The dogs bark back
At the voice of this barking bird.

What rage, what fury, this bird conveys,
It bears malice towards the wolf.
Why to blame it for barking,
Maybe its life is as miserable as that of a dog's.

Bark, even though you're a bird;
Fly, even though you're a dog,
Who cares in this country
Where dogs survive by licking boots,
And birds bark like dogs.

Baby Snake

The small baby snake is growing,
Crawling here and there.
Enjoying the air that it breathes,
The water, the sand, and the stone.
And the pleasure of this joy is filling its soul,
Taking away its sleep at nights.
The scent of flowers,
The scent of grass
The breath of wind
Fills its body.
Quietly, calmly
Everything turns to poison
Within its body.

One day this baby snake
Will be aware of the poison hidden within.
Maybe it will damn its fate,
Or will choke with sorrow.
Don't cry, don't cry, baby snake,
Don't damn your fate, baby snake!
You should bear it,
It's your life, this was your destiny;
A loving heart In your chestu
A poison sack under your fangs.
Whoever sees you, screams:
Snake, snake!
They keep banishing you,
They block your way
On every side.
You have only one way in this world,
The way from your head to your tail,
From your poisonous tooth to your tail.
There's only one way left:
You are your own way, baby snake.
You are the only one dear to yourself
In this world,
You are your own child, baby snake.

Where will you run,
To be out of sight?
What will you do
With this ruthless world?
You will shed your skin a dozen times,
You won't be able to be separated from yourself
Get used to yourself,
Slowly, slowly.
Get used to all aspects of life.
Reconcile yourself to your poison and sorrow inside,
Don't be squeamish about yourself, baby snake.
Maybe in life, baby snake,
You're the most bitter truth.
You're the way of truth,
Maybe God chose this life for you.
Or maybe life, which has hundreds of faces,
Purifies itself through you

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