Natural Science

I am learning plants. Herbs, flowers.
I take a cherry laurel leaf. A cherry laurel, this is, I say.

Holding both ends, I begin to examine it.
Then pull off a wormwood leaf.

Its sap is on my hand. I bend a branch.
A long, slender willow branch.

I count its veins, leave it in water:
The most beautiful green in the world.

I stroll all day.
Then, suddenly, I put pen to paper.

İlhan Berk. Doğabilim. Translated from the Turkish.

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Butterfly

What is your last wish?
A far easier
Question than
What is your first wish?

Because,
Out of fear,
No one ever asked
The first wish

Özdemir Asaf (1923-1981). Kelebek. Translated from the Turkish.

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The Ruined Garden

Here, there was a garden,
With blossoms of many colours…
Moths aflame in its light;
The faraway searched for paths leading there…
The fragile garden knew
Humans were unfaithful!…
Budding magnolias and lilacs
Withered in their arid hearts…
Since time immemorial, with cords of steel, the garden had surrounded itself;
Thus, protecting its flowers
From hands that would discard them like thorns…

One day, at dusk,
In the fragile garden landed a black crow;
Such a monster it was,
The garden straightway cowered,
The magnolias, the lilacs bowed their heads…
The spring roses slowly faded…

The black crow pecked all, one by one:
Flower, grass, leaf, root…
Only the blue sky
Saw it, shuddered…

The garden with blossoms of many colours,
Once swayed hearts, shaped memories…
Those who now remember it as a vsanished epic,
Seethe at this senseless end,
Call it “The Ruined Garden” …

Şükufe Nihal Başar (1896-1973). Viran Bağ. Tranlated from the Turkish.

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Photograph

Three at the stop
Man woman child

Man hands in pockets
Woman holding child’s hand

Man sad
Sad like sad songs

Woman beautiful
Beautiful like beautiful memories

Child
Sad like beautiful memories
Beautiful like sad songs

Cemal Süreya (1931-1990). Fotoğraf. Translated from the Turkish.

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Share

I was a pristine boat once,
Believed in happy journeys,
Thought there were islands, sunny, blue, carefree.
At full tilt I sped towards the waves;
You should have seen me then.

I was a pristine boat once.
If then you had seen me,
You, too, would have followed me.

I have discovered, learned, understood;
The last port returned to is myself,
At this evening hour.
I recall the escape
I once smiled upon, set my heart on.

Now, I return,
Through life’s vagaries,
From the coasts of the insatiable sea.

Özdemir Asaf (1923-1981). Pay. Translated from the Turkish.

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Song for the New Day

Hello new day
The hazy light in the sky
The indigo blue of the sea
Hello my strength to live

Come on, get going
Start the first boat, the first train
The first plane
Let the world’s wheels turn

You are the hope
In our beating heart
And knowing this
Bring happiness

Sabahattin Kudret Aksal (1920-1993). Yeni Gelen Güne Türkü. Translated from the Turkish.

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And Clouds

As dawn embraces the sky, clouds
Are the sound of wings around us;
Who knows where they go,
Where they come from?

Winds spin them from their hair,
They scatter seeds, sow spring on the earth;
They are hands on our brow,
The beloved who doesn’t forget our face.

The sky is an endless sea of dreams;
Clouds nourish our reveries.
They take us with them every evening
As, one by one, they float over the mountains.

Ahmet Muhip Dranas (1909-1980). Ve Bulutlar. Translated from the Turkish.

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