Pavements

In a street, in the middle of a desolate street;
I walk, I walk without looking behind,
Where caught in the dark,
A vision awaits me.

The dark sky covered in ashen clouds;
Lightning searching for the chimneys of the houses.
Every soul asleep, awake just two companions;
I and the wandering pavements.

Within me fear little by little grows;
As if every street is blocked by giants.
Their pitch-black windows fixed on me;
I see blind houses, eyes seared with a hot iron.

Pavements, mother of the suffering lonely;
Pavements, a human that lived within me.
Pavements, heard when all else is quiet;
Pavements, within me, a tortuous language.

Not for me to die in tender arms;
A child breast-fed by pavements!
Oh, let not morning come in this dark street;
In this dark street, let not my journey end!

Let me and the road meander, let me and the road meander;
Let street lamps on each side like torrents flow.
Tap, tap, let hungry dogs hear my footsteps;
My road’s arch of triumph, curves of shadow.

Let me nor see the morning, nor be seen in the morning;
Keep the days, give me darkness!
Let me wrap myself as with a damp quilt,
Enfold, enfold me in cool darkness.

If only my body could lie down on the stone;
And the cold stone cool my face.
And if I, falling into a sleep as mysterious as the streets,
Could die, the melancholic companion of the pavements…

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

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