A while ago, I translated this poem by Vazha called “Wedding of the Giants,” it goes like this:
“It was a roaring thunderstorm in the sky, during the night,
The mountains were bowing their heads,
Forest was abandoned by leaves for a flight,
And sea was roaring, as well as black.
It was a wedding of the beasts,
you could hear the rumble, inside the great feast,
I was invited as well, so I came:
For this strong smell, who was to blame?!
Three fires were ignited,
Three tanks boiled at the top,
On the front porches of the guests,
Man’s head was laying, as well as his legs,
From the back gulf,
By the voice of agony, all was engulfed,
“How do I eat my brother’s meat ?!” –
Someone’s scream could be heard,
And I became full without a treat,
So full, that I could feel it in my throat, take my word.”
According to literary critics, this poem is a piece that represents Vazha-Pshavelas’s frustration regarding Georgians going against each other during such a complex period in history, as they are supposed to be “brothers “: Georgia, a Russian province at that time, was undergoing a massive social, political and existential turmoil, “giants” were dominating both international and domestic politics, while pitting us against one another.
“The curtains were blue”, as they say, but the misconception of Vazha’s work in the prism of nationalism is a common thing, so why not voice my own opinion regarding the poem? Maybe, the curtains are not only blue, but represent something as well…
Personally, while reading this piece, a deconstructed biblically analogy is the first thing that comes to mind, a more dystopic version of David and Goliath to be precise, a world where the Goliath, an evil giant prevails, world where the Lord does not hand evil over to David and all is left is to abide by the rules of “a wedding of the beasts.”
While this situation could freely apply to the condition Vazha and others of his generation found themselves in, I think the metaphor in itself is more generally metaphysical.
Why is it that a single poem is perceived so differently by the people that come from the same culture? According to a prominent American linguist and philosopher, Noam Chomsky, language itself is an innate faculty and one of the many aspects of cognition, his theory states that numerous cognitive systems lay the foundation for general cognitive capacities, with perception being one of them. Perception, in my opinion, is a socially constructed, but not entirely a cultural one and most of the time, it does have some innate foundations in a person, as does the general understanding of syntax and semantics in the early development of the human psyche.
Was it a defeated David, or brave Georgian people, enslaved by the beasts?
That, we will never know for sure, but the perceptions and opinions will arise more, as the time passes…