Crying Children

Children cry in houses with shuttered windows,
Just as in rooms evening comes.
Then glows before my eyes,
A crumpled, tearful face.

Whenever darkness covers the earth,
Children’s great sorrow begins;
Full of fear, their eyes look around:
What if day never comes?

As sounds gradually die down,
Blindfolded in the night by a black hand,
I hear crying, sheltering inside me,
A tiny child, orphaned…

Necip Fazıl Kısakürek (1904-1983). Ağlayan Çocuklar. Translated from the Turkish.

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White Dove

Gliding from the blue sky towards the earth
A white dove landed on my shoulder

I held it in my hand, gently stroked and
Caressed it, I relived my youth

Pure white, so bright were its feathers
If I opened my hand, it would swiftly take flight

I lent over, whispered into its ear, don’t leave, I said
Wanting to kiss its moire eyes

In my hands, I felt its warmth
Its years of remoteness from me

I listened to its fluttering heart
Wanting to fly together towards the sky

The white dove had large eyes
And out of its beauty a fountain sprang

I drank its cool refreshing water
Listened to the sound of a cascading river

Perhaps love was this, life, perhaps
I was beaming, my eyes full of tears

A melody came from joy and delight
A melody came from beauty and white

It held out its pink beak lovingly
In that moment, I learnt the meaning of life

It was my destiny to find love in you
To be a pair of doves, I and you

Ümit Yaşar Oğuzcan (1926-1984). Beyaz Güvercin. Translated from the Turkish.

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Spanish Tavern

A bottle of wine on our darkened, wood table,
A night of nights, we are so tired.
And stone-drunk.
Your hands in mine.

In a Spanish tavern, a woman
Sings, shouting and wailing.
A ravaged woman, clearly.
Quite ugly, not so young, close to tears.
Skinny, bony hands, thick lips.
Her voice slaps our ears;
Our faces flush crimson.
We are full of sorrow, full of distress,
Bloodshot eyes..

One night in a Spanish tavern,
We are alone together.
And stone-drunk.
Let’s drink more, more..

Cry a little,
Your eyes closed, your head on my knees,
Look, I’m crying too.
In the stove, the logs are burning down,
Can you see?
A woman is screaming and wailing,
Can you hear?

Ah, let’s just die;
Let this mad run come to an end,
Let the Spanish tavern go to hell.
Enough! Enough!
Let’s die.
Come on, have wine,
Sorrow and love.
Let’s drink more, more..

Let’s hit the bottle;
Let alcohol run through our veins.
Hey waiter!
Stop that screaming woman.
Tell her to come to our table, let’s drink.
Hey waiter!
All drinks are on me tonight. You drink too.
Close the doors
To strangers.
No one should know
That we died in a Spanish tavern.
Let’s drink more, more..

Ümit Yaşar Oğuzcan (1926-1984). İspanyol Meyhanesi. Translated from the Turkish.

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One After Another

One after another and almost endless
At every turn a different loneliness
A different sea,
The miracle of the moment, continuation, repetition
And the revelry of each brightness.
In waves this music devours us
Through the mirror of thousands of stillnesses
One after another and almost endless,
The distant, forgotten crackling
Of which evenings, who knows…

At the threshold of denial and admission
As if unified time and space
Every thing at the instant of formation
And the self is so much itself
That on the edge of the precipice
It is the mind’s adventure!
It seems to await
One after another and almost endless,
Awaits the lightning that will tear open
The night’s veiled brightness.

Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar (1901-1962). Üst Üste. Translated from the Turkish.

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A Rose in This Darkness

A rose, in this darkness,
To stillness offers itself,
Like a coral wine glass
Through the alley of time.

At the helm of this miracle,
Sounds, scents and colours,
Which profound, remote
Dream is awaited, I wonder.

A voice clearer than dawn
Making the night more tender,
Shivers ,
“Here are all your tears!

Let this hopeless plea
Not be quenched
By fruits or fountains
Nor by the flow of days!

Wouldn’t it be enough for you, the good news,
If your brow I illumine,
I, the caravan of stars
That moves all dreams to time!”

Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar (1901-1962). Bir Gül Bu Karanlıklarda. Translated from the Turkish.

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The Day Breaks

Night unseals its lips..
Shadows disperse into depths
Taking the magic of secrets:
Over the city, the day breaks.

Chimneys timorously take shape,
Over the city, the day breaks;
With sleepy eyes, hawks
Gaze at the day’s eyes.

The poplar sways its boughs;
Rises to its usual place.
In twilight blue,
Over the city, the day breaks.

Over the city, the day breaks,
Full of colours, everywhere.
Houses with untidy faces
Watch the street lamp that still burns.

Slowly the earth moves,
Over the city, the day breaks,
On the lily-white night flowers
At dawn a tear-drop falls.

And like a sea storm,
Over the city, the day breaks.

Orhan Veli (1914-1950). Gün Doğuyor. Translated from the Turkish.

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That’s Youth

A voice everyday shakes my heart,
Repeats, whenever the clock strikes:
“What about your land, where is your harvest?
Empty-handed, will you go into the night?
You’re half way through life, just think!
It comes and goes, that’s youth;
Despondent and dismayed, you’re left;
From window to window, you run.”

O the days I did not appreciate,
The bouquet of roses thrown away, not smelt,
The fountain, its water wasted,
The blowing wind, the sails not raised!
Yet, the waters flow westward,
In the trees, the nightingale’s song is changed,
Shadows settle on my window;
O memoirs, your days are beginning.

Cahit Sıtkı Tarancı (1910-1946). Gençlik Böyledir İşte. Translated from the Turkish.

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