A New Day

Heavy as lead,
My eyes opened slowly this morning.
Hello world.
Dove at my window, wooden table, empty bottles,
My dear dog Çomar, hello. Sweet neighbour Ayşe teyze*,
Retired teacher Salih, friends,
A new day is born. Hello.

It’s freezing cold, my hands in my pockets,
A song on my lips.
You hear, don’t you?
Yearning for happiness, not a doorbell to ring,
The streets are mine now.
You understand, don’t you?

Time stands still, clocks have stopped today.
Only you in my endless loneliness today.
Come back to me, can you hear me?
Or go out of my life.
You understand, don’t you?

I have your photograph, torn in half.
You’re wearing your black jumper.
You remember, don’t you?
In the few drops of memories trickling from my eyes
Is your warmth.
You see, don’t you?

Whoever said, “when two hearts beat as one
A hayloft is as good as a mansion” should ask me.
Would rye-bread be enough for a stranger
Brought up on baklava and cakes by her father?

With only love, what’s left?
Me, I’m just a nobody.
A life, like reality, slowly passes me by.
Even so, hello.
A final hello.

The dove long flown, my wooden table toppled over,
My dear friend Çomar sleeping,
Sweet neighbour Ayşe teyze, retired teacher Salih,
Farewell to you all,
Farewell friends.
My eyes heavy as lead closed slowly tonight.

Barış Manço (1943-1999). Yeni Bir Gün (Lyrics). Translated from the Turkish.

* Literally aunt. Also an informal way of addressing older woman.sing

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Yellow Van

Are you in the air, little yellow van?
Or are you on a bridge as thin as a hair?
Weren’t you beneath the sea blue?
Out now, how come?

The sky, orange and red;
Dove grey and violet, the earth.
Little yellow van!
To the little house in the next door painting,
Will you make it?
So dark there!

After two paintings by Diana Page.

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Waters of Sleep

In the foam of the last ebbing wave
The cave of tales suddenly unlocks,
Set aflame, shining in the half light,
Fish swim in waters of sleep.

Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar (1901-1962). Uyku Sularında. Translated from the Turkish.

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Two Trees Alone

By a strange waterside, two trees;
Young, lively, kindly…
They have something to say; but
Stay always silent – dead or alive.

Yet after sunset, towards the stars
The way they sway
Crystal clear
Is what they have to say – dead or alive.

By a waterside, the two trees,
Fixed in the ground;
They have something to say; but
Have or have not said it – dead or alive.

Ahmet Muhip Dranas (1909-1980). İki Yalnız Ağaç. Translated from the Turkish.

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From your green window throw me a rose,
For my heart to fill with light.
Like a season I came to your door,
Clouds in my eyes, dew on my hair.

You are a flowering rose,
With my love, I have brought spring for you;
From the dusty roads of a far away season,
I have brought songs for you.

Each stalk curved under
The heavy bud quivering with limpid drops.
For you the rose geranium drifting down branches,
For you jasmine, lily, carnations…

The song of a bird comes from your lips;
Your eyes, daffodils in blossom in my heart.
The trembling twilight on violet acacias
Kisses falling from your lips.

When you throw me a rose from your window,
My heart will fill with light.
Like a season I pass your door,
Clouds in my eyes, dew on my hair.

Ahmet Muhip Dranas. (1908-1980). Serenad. Translated from the Turkish.

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As nature falls asleep,
A silvery light appears in deep waters.
Behind the dark, lonely hills,
The moon slowly rises,
Life re-emerges,
Moonlight comes ashore.

On cold and calm winter nights,
The moon is blind,
Imprisoned behind clouds.
With its silvery light,
It now reigns in
An unknown land, far far away

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Peace and Sorrow

He was benevolent. He was merciless.
He suffered; he oppressed.
He forgave and he avenged;
Praised and condemned.
He eased; he tormented.
He brought laughter; he brought tears.
He said he would explain. He did not.
The night he forsook us,
There was thunder, lightning, rain.
In the morning, it was calm.
Huzur (peace) and hüzün (sorrow).
Apart from a couple of dots and one letter,
The same word.

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