Oral History Excerpts

Mahmud Nuray
Azerbaijan

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Mahmud Nuray was born May 5, 1939 in Derekend village of Lachin region of Azerbaijan. During World War II, Mahmud’s father went to the war and never came back. Mahmud was raised by his mother, Ziba Mursal, and they worked on a collective farm. Mahmud started to write poems at the age of 12 and they were often printed in various newspapers. In this poem, he is lamenting the conflict in Garabag -- Nagorno-Karbakh, his homeland.

Translation of poem from Azerbaijani by Aida Patterson and Nargiz Khalibekhova.

Mahmud Nuray as a young man.
MY GARABAG
One mournful Shikeste (traditional song)
Is being heard over a spring
Your eye is on the road,
Your ear is longing for a sound,
You’re so lonely now, Garabag,
Let me be your sacrifice, Garabag.

Storms are blowing over lowlands,
The mountains are all in storm too,
How I want to be a balm
On your bleeding wounds, my Garabag,
Let me be your sacrifice, Garabag
.

You’re like a Sun, Garabag,
A crown of my Motherland,
But now in the need of care.
So colourful you are, my Garabag,
Let me be your sacrifice, Garabag.

With beautiful pastures
And wonderful springs,
And embrace of a paradise,
You are my homeland, Garabag,
Let me be your sacrifice, Garabag
.