Closeness isn’t easy, but solitude is troublesome;
How should I spend the last five, ten years?
People, I’ve got them figured out. The world, no secrets.
If in my quiver a single arrow was left,
I wouldn’t shoot it into my horizon for the sweetest of dreams.
Fall into your last sleep, eyes!
“Only the sensitive live”, they say.
I say, “Only the sensitive suffer”.
I’ve witnessed and understood the adventure of living;
If the soul survived, I wouldn’t wish it immortality.
With no dreams left, what pleasure is there in life?
Let this useless autumn come to a timely end!
Death isn’t the most dreadful thing in life,
To die before you die is harder.
Yahya Kemal Beyatlı (1884-1958). Düşünce. Translated from the Turkish.
The child seen behind the window,
Keeps pointing at the sun.
The child thinking behind the window,
Angry, punches it.
The child waiting behind the window,
Watches the sun through three seasons
And longing for the sun in winter,
Licks the misted window.
Throughout the day the child,
Struggles in vain to reach the sun.
At night, at long last, the child
Sleeps embracing the sun.
Cahit Sıtkı Tarancı (1910-1956). Güneşe Aşık Çocuk. Translated from the Turkish.
A star fell, the sky and the sea embraced.
Like the first kiss of union with the beloved.
Dazzled, we looked at the open sea.
This sudden twinkle on the dreamy blue,
Gone in an instant, dissolved like a secret.
A bird on golden wings took flight we thought.
Seeing a star thus vanish,
What is this mystery of creation, we said.
Naive humans drifting amid eternity,
One way or another, hope for a lasting discovery.
Yahya Kemal Beyatlı (1884-1958). Bir Yıldız Aktı. Translated from the Turkish.
In the gardens of night,
As stars twinkle sometimes,
Like ripened fruits,
Those who see them
Regretfully say, “I can’t reach them!”
When you too feel
This pain of regret,
For a moment, alone,
Shut your eyes:
One by one beautiful stars
Will fall into your lap;
They are yours,
Whenever you want.
Cahit Sıtkı Tarancı (1910-1956). Gece Bahçelerinde. Translated from the Turkish.
Those clouds for a while,
Sullen, mouth drooping,
The man behind whom the sea catches fire,
My lips quiver as I watch,
Come down and touch the water, sun
Lean upon the river, be an old tree running upside down.
Cahit Zarifoğlu (1940-1987). Güneş İnip Suya Dokun. Translated from the Turkish.
The endless melancholy I felt away from home,
The painful days of separation and falling leaves,
Remembering them one by one, I pitied myself.
From afar, for a while I dreamed of
The Çınaraltı café in tranquil Emirgan,
The sound of leaves conversing with the northerly winds.
I contemplated the place of worship there, close yet remote,
And, inscribed upon the marble fountain,
The exquisite calligraphy of Yesari,
I drifted in the music of the flowing sea.
Yahya Kemal Beyatlı (1884-1958). Hüzün ve Hatıra. Translated from the Turkish.
* Çınaraltı means ‘Under the Plain Trees’ in Turkish. Emirgan is a district in the Bosphorus.
Finally, the day is over; the awaited is here:
The night, the night, as boundless as that within you,
A night as rich as that within you. If truly
Together with your dreams you long to live,
Plunge into the sparkling darkness;
And like the night abide with mysteries!
Cahit Sıtkı Tarancı (1910-1956). Bilmecelerle Kal. Translated from the Turkish.