Moses of Khorene
Memory-diamonds shine through the rust
Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust.
Time's chasm opens up before my sight,
Vertigo returns, a Lapis Lazuli night.
Resurrecting poetry, lighting a light.
Civilization alllots meanings to things:
Like the funeral mask of Tutankhamun
I prefer lapis lazuli free on the wing
Blue as the blue of robins' eggs.
Ultramarine pigment of supreme rarity
Falls from the skies like an old bird who dies...
The poet, Moses of Khorene, born about 404 AD, was proud to pursue the blue
This singer of songs.
Sang in his poems of the beauty of blue.
Moses knew the full, subtle liberty
Of the magnificient blue-art of Konstantinopoulos
Moses worked ln the libraries of Alexandria and Palestine.
To find a rhyme he sojourned to Rome, Athens, then back to Byzantium,
Packing so much life into so little time was his habit of mind.
Returning to Armenia about 440 AD Moses retired into solitude.
Until it happened, perchance, that the Catholicos Bishop,
While travelling, alighted at a certain poor village,
He was entertained by the peasants,
And an old ragged man was urged to say something.
At first he excused himself on the plea that he was a stranger, a vagabond
But, to the surprise of all present,
He recited an impromptu ode, a song, greeting the Catholicos with pieces of lapis lazuli
Moses disclosed his true identity, as Moses of Khorene,
This man had the bluest of lapis-blue eyes.
At first the Catholicos was incredulous,
But, on a careful examination of the old man’s eyes,
He recognised him as his former fellow-student,
Whereupon he burst into tears
Held Moses closely in a long embrace.