loader

~ Abai Kunanbaev ~


Word Nine

page separator


When dying,
I will not lament:
Alas, I have not tasted
this or that joy!..
Not torturing myself with
regrets about earthly things,
I shall find solace
in the life to come.

~ ABAI KUNANBAEV

From Word Nine, The Book of Words



I, too, am a Kazakh. But do I love the Kazakhs or not? If I did, I would have approved of their ways and would have found something, however slight, in their conduct to rejoice or console me, a reason to admire at least some of their qualities and keep alive a glimmer of hope. But this is not so. Had I not loved them, I would not have spoken to them from the heart or taken counsel with them; I would have not mixed with them and taken an interest in their affairs, asking, "What are people doing there? What`s going on?" I would just have sat back quietly — or wandered off. I have no hope that they will mend their ways or that I may bring them to reason or reform them. So I feel neither of these emotions. But how come? I ought to have opted for one or the other.

Even though I live, I do not consider myself to be alive. I don't know why: maybe because I'm vexed with the people or dissatisfied with myself, or for some other reason. Outwardly alive but completely dead within, that's what I am. Outwardly irate, I feel no anger. Laughing, I am unable to rejoice. The words that I speak and the laughter that I utter seem not to be mine. Everything is alien.

In my younger days it never occurred to me that anyone could forsake his own people. I loved the Kazakhs with all my heart and believed in them. But as I came to know my people better and my hopes began to fade, I found that I lacked the strength to leave my native region and form kinship with strangers. This is why there is a void in my heart now. But then I think, perhaps it's for the better. When dying, I will not lament:
"Alas, I have not tasted this or that joy!.."

Not torturing myself with regrets about earthly things, I shall find solace in the life to come.

page separator