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Desert Eyes

By Leslie Perryman, Honors Armenian Art
Poem written in response to book To The Desert: Pages From My Diaries by Vahram Dadrian,
Discussed by Ara Sarafian

A child’s eye, once exposed to childhood fancies,
Freedom flights and family duties,
Full of love and full of life,
Now, all the child’s eye sees is suffering,
Pain for his people, pain for his family, pain for his soul.

With his books and his writing tool,
The child writes, the child remembers,
The child records his story, his life,
On the other side of the world,
Where his people are hunted, hurt, and herded.

With hope as a guide, and poverty at his door,
He runs with his family, bribing and bartering,
For passage across a stream of blood and massacre,
Hoping to stay afloat among a wash of genocide,
He dreams of freedom, safety, and shelter from the storm of hate.

The caravan he walks with carries a burden,
The loss of past, the fear of losing the present and future,
Dreaming of a tomorrow where sorrow’s sting will no longer hinder,
By train, by foot, by skin and blood they travel,
Each step unsure but steady, dragging ever closer to freedom.

From the child’s eye to the man’s heart,
Surviving the terror, not knowing why it began,
Seeing from the eye of a child, engraved into the heart of man,
Keeping close his memories, to share the pain,
To remind those who chose not to believe,
That the pain was there and will remain for all to see.

Just because you don’t hear, see, or speak the evil doings of others does not mean that they do not happen. The people are still left with their memories, their stories and their nightmares and we are left with only a thought of the reality, a feeling of what horror must have been like, but no lasting fear of what went on. That is the reality and we can only see through those narrow glimpses of the truth that others pass on to us and begin to believe in its reality