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I WANT TO LIVE by Shushanik Kurghinian, 1907 Translated by S. Avagyan, 2002 I want to live, but not a lavish life wedged in obscurity, unconcern, simple-mindedness, nor an outright hostage of beauty aids as a frail creature, delicate and feeble - but equal to you, oh men, auspicious, as you are - powerful and headstrong, fit against calamities, and ingenious - with bodies full of fervor. I want to love, unreserved, without a mask - autonomous like you, so that when in love I can sing my feelings to the world and unchain my heart - a woman's heart before the crowds ignoring the stern judgements with my shield, and destroy their prickly arrows with all my vigor unrestrained! I want to act, next to you, in equality as my people's loyal chapter; let me suffer over and again, night or day roaming from one place to another, struggling for those ideals of sovereignty And let this heft torment me in my exile - only to gain the purpose of my life. I want to eat, freely as you do, from that same fair bread, for which I gave my share of holy work; humble and meek in the battle for existence, let me shed sweat-and-tears without feeling any shame for a blessed earning, let scarlet-blood flow from my laborer's hand and back tires in pain! I want to fight, first - as your rival, standing against you with an old vengeance, that absurdly and without mercy you turned me into a vassal through love and force Then after clearing these issues of my sex - I want to fight against the agonies of life - courageously like you, holding your hand, together - facing this struggle of being or not. -- Shushanik Kurghinian (1876-1927) lived in Armenia and Russia, and is famous for her proletarian and feminist poetry. Her first volume of poems got published in 1907, in Nor Nakhichevan. She has been widely censored by the Czarist and Marxist editors, as a huge portion of her writings has never been published. An archive of her works is kept at the Museum of Art and Literature in Yerevan. Bibliography: Kurghinian, Shushanik. Poems. Ed. J. Mirzabekian. Yerevan: Hayastan Publishing, 1971. -- Shushan Avagyan was born in Yerevan, Armenia. She is currently working on her master's degree in English Literature, and is a recipient of the Dalkey Archive Press fellowship at the Illinois State University.