Abide with Mysteries

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.

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Listen to the pulse of silence in my hand,
Listen to soothe me!
Your palm on my brow,
Keep your ember eyes on mine!

Walk away, your shadow follows you,
Grow smaller, smaller, in the distance disappear,
As you turn the corner, look back,
For a moment stay there!

My hopes fell into the floods of years,
Onto a trembling strand of your hair,
Into your hand like dry leaves;
If you wish release them into the wind!

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

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let’s pass to the darkness
let’s pass the darkness
nor sleep
nor death
both sleep
and death

fall into me, sleep
and eternally flourish
forget colours
and forms
and none

and you
and the night swallowed by

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

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Children that Long for the Sea

Spring mornings; one, two, three, five, ten,
Their golden heads a golden medallion,
Chests stretched like sails
And arms open to the rising sun,
Children that long for the great waters, barefoot,
Run towards the running waves.

-This spring, as we gather our last roses,
Let’s rejoice, rejoice, rejoice, children! And
Like the wind, run towards the sea!
If hope is what is best in our worlds,
Let’s ride the sea like a rearing horse
To the joyful paradise of our dreams…

And over the sea, a clear night of stars,
The faces of children that long for the great waters.

Ahmet Muhip Dranas (1909-1980). Denizi Özleyen Çocuklar. Translated from the Turkish.

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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
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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