(On) Vasiyetimdir: Özge Ersoy

Photograph by Özge Ersoy.

STONE by Zareh Khrakhouni

On the edge of the road
Under the sun
I carve stone

The road is long –
A throbbing vein of glory
Where life blusters and races by madly

I am sitting
Under the sun
Constantly polishing stone

Along the main road people and carriages pass swiftly
Behind the flashing windows or the darkening glasses
They don’t see me – pleased

I alone
Sitting under the sun
Hew stone

Some come and stop
Observe at lenght – say a word or two
Then walk away

I sit
On the edge of the road
And work indifferently

I have no rest no break
Neither sleep nor peace
As though pursued I toil against it

In my hand a hammer and pen
Like a clear sounding clock
echo on the stone

On the opulent road
People and carriages compete
I try to keep up with each tick tock

And I hit fast
I plane I engrave I tremble and much more
But I do not know what it is

What am I making? a statue to be worshipped by future generations?
A refined sculpture placed before temples of hope and light?
A khatchkar* – erected in dedication to ancient heritage

Or a simple stone
Square sacredly polished
Left forgotten in the grass on the edge of the road

Along the road
Under the sun
All alone.


*A khatchkar is a stone tablet with an ornate Armenian cross carving
Zareh Khrakhouni, aka Arto Cümbüşyan, (b. 1926, d. 2015, Istanbul) was a poet and a promoter of the modern literature and new poetry movements in Western Armenian letters. His first published poem ‘Haghtanag’ (Victory) appeared in the Mkhitarian Alumni Association’s journal in 1948. Together with a group of writers and poets, Khrakhouni created San, one of the pioneering journals of Istanbul’s modern Armenian literature. He served as first editor of the literary and artistic supplement of the Istanbul-based Armenian newspaper Marmara, and remained a contributor and collaborator of this publication until the end of his life. Khrakhouni published various collections of poems, articles, studies, reviews, editorials, as well as translations from Eastern Armenian literature. His poems are translated into multiple languages including French, English, German, and Russian.

Özge Ersoy (b. 1984, Istanbul) is the program manager of collectorspace and an editor for m-est.org. She lives in Istanbul.

Vasiyetimdir* is a publication project that aims to explore how art works will subsist over long periods of time. Art works live in artist studios, private collections, museums, storage spaces, or simply in memories. But how far do the artists want to control what happens to their works when they are no longer? How do they want to exert their control? We directed these questions to the artists we are in dialogue with. We are accumulating their answers through m-est.org.

*Vasiyetimdir is a Turkish phrase that can roughly be translated into English as “It is my will that…” The phrase holds a tint of the melodramatic, mixed with a sentimental flair.

Vasiyetimdir was conceived by Aslı Çavuşoğlu, Özge Ersoy, and Merve Ünsal.