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DESTINY By Raymond B. Kupelian From an early age I silently carried My burden of lead Attached to my wings As an omen of destiny Branded on my forehead And also on my soul... I was so often Plucked of my feathers By those mortals Who refrained my attempts For a better life They have prevented My willful fly In the blue sky And my journey To the distant oceans To the distant shores... But after every fall And plucking After every attempt Of the gravity of lead's Pulling me down into ravines There was ascension There was slender And soaring of wings The will and the joy Of conquering New horizon And flying freely In the open skies As celebration For being strong For being alive ... -- Raymond B. Kupelian is a recognized author in the Diaspora as well as in Armenia, where a sampling of his short stories and latest two novels have been published. Now in his sixties, Mr. Kupelian has lived in Liberia and Sierra Leone for more than twenty years. His African short stories have been translated into English and Russian. Addendum: Today, as Liberia and Sierra Leone are suddenly in the world's political focus, it's timely to expand on Mr. Kupelian's speciality here: With his first three short-story volumes, Kupelian portrays the life and captured the hope and despair of newly independent countries in West Africa. He penetrated into the hidden secret of its virgin forests, disclosing the superstition and primitive thinking of the natives. His ninth novel, ` The Decadence', portrays the rise and fall of African nationalism, the tortures of their dreams, the selfishness of black leadership and the unavoidable chaos and carnage there after. In Kupelian's writings, the Africans are the main characters and the heroes of all his stories or novels. He penetrates into the every day life and souls of the countryman from all categories of life: from the president to government employees and the mere domestic helper to the underage murderer, from illicit diamond dealer to sand-sand boys, from the primitive fishermen to sophisticated ancient Greek language scholar and golf club president. His `African Symphony' brings to surface the complicated interracial relations, prejudices and hatred of people living under the same roof or the same tropical sky. These short stories which were written in the seventies have kept their freshness, and local coloring and essence.