Passing Days

Days pass, days;
Exiled to regrets,
Days pass.

One after the other,
On roads lined up,
One after the other;
Towards regrets days pass,
Like exiles.

Into our souls, they pour
Their black love;
Days, days and days,
Like twins,
Like setting suns,
Through mountains, clouds, seas, forests,
Summers and winters,
One after the other…

One after the other
Like setting suns,
The cycle of minute and hour hands
Uninterrupted;
Bells ringing,
Days all pass,
Exiled in regrets,
Days and days…

Ahmet Muhip Dranas (1909-1980). Geçen Günler. Translated from the Turkish.

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Imaginary City

In this season go, look from Cihangir* at sunset!
Surrender for a while to the dream before you!
This evening is different from others;
The sun’s illusion creates glass palaces;
For its playful world of dreams,
Glass is transformed into fairy mansions by the solar deity.
The opposite shore, with its palaces of fire,
Is the splendorous East of three thousand years ago.
The East’s ageless architect of light,
Intoxicated by the golden wine,
Leaves the horizon, a red bowl in its hand,
Thus flourishes the Üsküdar* of the imagination.
But the solar deity’s inspiration is fleeting;
Ephemeral are the buildings made of fire;
As the West darkens, they vanish.

Though the reign of humble Üsküdar is short lived
It does not lament the solar extinction;
The city of cypresses is submerged in its own inner light.
In a climate of eternal mercy and grace,
You are not deceived by gold, fake or pure.
Every corner of the opposite shore is heaven thanks to its people;
There, from each hill left in darkness,
The lights of many a humble house at night
Most truly mirror Üsküdar.

* Cihangir is a district in the European side of the Bosphorus, in Istanbul.  Üsküdar (Scutari) is in the Asian side.

Yahya Kemal (1884-1958). Hayal Şehir. Translated from the Turkish.

 

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My Romantic Youth

I haul dragons
out of cracks in walls
conjure flames
in rains of darkness
in melancholy
I walk

I held out my hands
far away they went
dropped stars on their way back
if it is not a starry night
you sleep
the sky is black, has no ceiling

I lay on my back on the floor
down the sky with no ceiling I fall

Asaf Halet Çelebi (1907-1958). Romantik Gençliğim. Translated from the Turkish.

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You are not earth, you are not water – very different you are:
Beyond the muddy world – love you attained…
Soul is elixir of life, it flows; body is channel;
To both water and channel, you remained indifferent.

Rumi, Jalaluddin Mevlana (1207-1273). Translated from the Turkish – The Turkish Translation by Talat S. Halman.

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How good to be an overnight guest and then set forth again,
Not frozen, not clouded, how good to find calm clarity.
Yesterday is gone and with it your words of yesterday:
How good to find a new word for every new day.

Rumi, Jalaluddin Mevlana (1207-1273). Translated from the Turkish – The Turkish Translation by Talat S.Halman.

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In great love, the beloved remains hidden;
The true beings of the world remain hidden.
When the wind blows, clouds of dust are seen,
Branches break, the wind remains hidden.

Rumi, Jalaluddin Mevlana (1207-1273). Translated from the Turkish – The Turkish Translation by Talat S. Halman.

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Scalare

In the deepest depths, half sky, three thousand gates of screams!
In the deepest depths, you are, throughout the night…
A suspicious signal, they’ll call it
Or a coded aria!
Unburden yourself dear friend, unburden,
Do not make a falsehood of sca-la-re!

They may call it a season, but a season in blue is endless summer …
To describe a leaf, a thousand poems do not suffice.
There are words that don’t fit into simple language, dictionaries!
Form for spirit, soul for matter, sca-la-re!

A ray of sun turned consciousness into confusion;
Two pearls shed their mother of pearl shells.
To all, from seven to seventy, the creator has given joy,
A joyous yearning, a thrill, sca-la-re!

A new start everyday as someone’s time comes to an end…
Are there others who suffer so much from homesickness?
All roads go through this stop as evenings come;
An inn for every heartsick traveller, sca-la-re!

A glass palace, built on the creator’s ground.
Built by a kindly hand!
From its gate of wishes, no one leaves empty-handed,
Peace to friends, sca-la-re!

Love is enough for my heart, a gentle smile.
The book, for years, was left half-finished, the final part undelivered.
Always like this, my heart longs day and night;
A blue smoke that envelops all, sca-la-re…

Outwardly, this garden of life is barren land,
Approach it with understanding and each leaf is a heaven.
Come dear friend, gather up, all that is around you!
When all fruits ripen, it is then, sca-la-re.

Bekir Sıtkı Erdoğan (1926-2014). Ska-lar-ya. Translated from the Turkish.

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