Poetry Porch: Poetry


Translating the Word for Bread
by Diana Der-Hovanessian

The word
changes texture,
changes shape,
in every language.

In Armenian
it takes on the fragrance
of the tonnir
outdoor oven.

It comes out crisp
and flat. To translate
you must rebuild that oven,
knead dough,
and let it rise

into cool foreign air
that has grown used
to wonder.

Armenians always
share their bread
so let us begin.

Copyright © 1990 by Diana Der-Hovanessian.
Reprinted from Songs of Bread, Songs of Salt by Diana Der-Hovanessian.  New York: Ashod Press, 1990.