To the Azerbaijani Flag
by Ahmad Javad (1892-1937 )

Ahmad Javad (1892-1937), an important poet and public figure, was arrested by the Soviet regime in 1937 for alleged crimes against the Azerbaijani people. Like many other talented writers and poets, he was sentenced to death. After Stalin died (1953), Javad's name was cleared. Since Azerbaijan regained its independence in 1991, Javad's name has gradually been restored as one of Azerbaijan's most important poets. His poems are once again being published.

This poem is dedicated to our national flag, which I saw fluttering above the parliament house upon my first arrival in Baku after the British had come here on April 10, 1919.

Turkistan 1 winds are whispering
their troubles to you,
Kissing you on your forehead, my flag!
Let the Black Sea send your three colors
As a gift to its friends, my flag!

I met you on my way to Turan, 2
Your shadow ever falling over my head!
Let the tears watering my eyes
Tell everyone of their grief, my flag!

You got your colors from Gayi khan,
Moslem beys
4 have gotten older like Elkhan.
You, Elkhan's descendant, stronghold of religion,
You brought delight into my soul, my flag!

I stepped forward, fierce winds in my chest,
I want to kiss the holy place
where your shadow falls!
The star of heavens, that beautiful fairy,
Has taken shelter in the moon in your lap,
my flag!

1 Turkistan - referring to all of the Turkic nations.
2 Turan - the entire area of Turkic nations, from the Altay Mountains to the Black Sea.
3 Gayi khan and Elkhan - the names of legendary Oguz knights.
4 Bey - used here to mean the title given to noble men, members of gentry.
5 Beautiful fairy - referring to the flag's moon, which he says resembles a fairy.

Translated by Aynur Hajiyeva

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