An Epic on the Georgian Chant Journey
in the style of Shota Rustaveli
by Robert Dankoff, Philadelphia, USA
Composed in Kazbegi at 7:00 A.M. on July 4, 2009
I am the ancient bard of SaKartvelo,
By name and fame I pass as SaRoberto.
I sing of the Georgian heroes of old:
King Joni the Great, whose story is told
In legend and chant throughout Iberia.
He came from the faraway land of America
And conquered the Georgians with song and with charm.
I sing of Luarsab, Joni’s right arm,
The noble tamada par excellence
Who guided them all, leaving nothing to chance.
And I sing of Queen Maka, who hails from Svaneti:
Wise and courageous, witty and pretty,
Nothing about her was petty or prissy.
John, Luarsab and Maka ruled from Tbilisi.
This threesome was awesome. They led a band
Of nine chanting warriors through't the land,
Piloted by the noble Gia,
Their Argo was a white mashrutka.
First to Kakheti, that fruitful plain,
Where they drank and they drank, and drank again.
Their only warcry was Gaumarjos!
They followed the footsteps of St. Nino’s.
Signagi and Telavi fell under their spell.
In Kazbegi too they fared quite well.
Who were their friends, the inseparable nine,
Who shared their woes and their joys and their wine?
Tami the great, who hailed from Chicago
And held the key to the Georgian farrago,
That inscrutable tongue, whose consonant clusters
Are so many tongue-twisters and gum-busters.
With the help of her faithful husband Jay
She unlocked Georgia’s secrets and ruled the day.
Rebecca too and her sidekick Chris,
Who came from New York spreading wisdom and bliss.
Ian of Sidney, who followed the traces
Of Georgia’s saints to faraway places.
Nebojsa, that architectonic savant,
Who photographed every inch of the land.
Jeremy, with experience gained far and wide,
Regaled them with stories and kept them in stride.
And with Gemütlichkeit, kindness and truth,
From Colorado, the indomitable Ruth.
The ninth was this ancient bard, known as Bob-a
Whose final word is: Didi madloba!