The Wind Cries Mari

Something they don’t tell you about Tbilisi is how windy it is.

In the winter, the wind blows the cold air right through the poorly-insulated windows. When I lived in Gldani I could hear my windows rattling in the wind and even with the windows closed, the curtains still moved back and forth with each gust. The wind used to blow so strong that if I hung clothes out to dry it would wrap them and twist them into knots around the clothesline, or blow them all to one side. In one recent windstorm, several of my friends lost clothes they’d hung out to dry.

To be honest I can’t recall when the windy season ends, but I remember summer being a little more still. Summers in Tbilisi are brutally hot and the wind would be welcome.

I got off the bus the other day and was struck by a gust of wind that made me turn my head to protect my eyes from blown debris. As I ran across Chavchavadze Avenue, I thought of a song – just three notes, and the line “…and the wind something something”. Some google-fu revealed the following:


There’s a Georgian poem called “ქარი ჰქრის” – that’s “Qari Hqris” or “Kari Hkris” – which seems to be a favorite of English speakers possibly because it’s short and simple and repetitive and easy to understand and memorize even with very minimal Georgian language skill. The title translates to “The Wind Blows” or somesuch, and it seems to be largely about weather (snow and rain come into play around the middle; the poem is actually quite appropriate to the weather this season). The poet is Galaction Tabidze, who is famous or something.

Anyway, if you learn how to recite this poem all Georgians will love you forever. This guy does a decent dramatic reading (although, he’s no Hendrix):

I’d love to translate “The Wind Cries Mary” into Georgian, memorize Qari Hqris, and recite them together for people. Put that down as my goal for the year (since I don’t seem to recall making any New Years Resolutions). Expect to see a video of me reciting “Qari Hqris” and “Qari Yviris Mari” at the bottom of one of these posts some day.

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4 Responses to The Wind Cries Mari

  1. Mach says:

    I love how you described Galaction Tabidze as “famous or something”. Not being judgmental or sarcastic here. Anyway, by many he is considered the greatest Georgian poet to have ever lived.


  2. pasumonok says:

    🙂 loved the pun in the title
    my sheet flew away last night. like a little ghost
    please do not mention name of my fav. poet in vain…
    thank god, hendrix wasn’t mentioned as some famous guitar player or something :-)))


  3. Did they tell you that we (Georgians) blame Armenian Gods for that strong wind that happens every Spring? 🙂


  4. blintu says:

    As a matter of fact, “ქარი ჰქრის” is not about the weather 😀
    It’s more about missing the lover. It has other artistic values than also 🙂
    I’m not a big fan of poetry though


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