Crumbs of Time

We, crumbs of time,

Flies of time,
Quietly beating our wings in the dusty windows of days;
We, who feel no need
In this light for our shadows!

As if inside black, pitch black stones,
In black, pitch-black caves we have lived,
As if we have never seen each other,
As if we have never met!

The world thus shut us out…

What good is remembering,
Remembering things past
In gardens dimly lit.
As the wheel of time
Closes on us
In the evening garden of vanity,
Is it not enough that our hands,
Stretching out to the sun, remember!

Into eternal emptiness, long ago,
Mirrors released our countenance;
We are hovering
Like kites with broken strings.
We, the distant viewers of this luminous play,
Who suddenly find
The secret of the absurd.
Now, we are so much like
Pots from the same maker;
Something, something has removed all the differences!

If we looked at mirrors,
Would we recognize ourselves;
Through this rigid,
Cruel denial,
Would we recognize our loved ones.

I have seen time,
Inside me, outside me, ticking quietly.
That way only a grave could be dug;
A forest destroyed,
Without lightning, without axe!
I have seen time;
It ruined my dreams through how many looks,
How many thoughts!
I have seen time,
In a lightning moment, on the edge of its abyss.

Hence, who would recognize us
Except guests
At our dimly lit night;
Those who on the bare wood
Share our days with us
And those who with my eyes look at the sun,
Only they would recognize us
From evening waters, where violet circles float!
Waters where as a single tree,
Evening takes root;
The garden of childhood dreams!
Let no one touch the boughs;
Let be the fruit and leaves,
As I sleep!

I have seen time,
Through the fallen down columns
Of a very old palace;
Clusters of purple fruit on its brow,
Beautiful as gods.
Like a fledgling born on the rock,
Waiting to grow wings and fly,
I have seen time,
Fluttering in my palms.

Look, sea gulls are beating their wings for you;
Shearwaters are skimming over the sea,
Pure white, out of a dream.
In your looks a mild summer
From its greenest night smiles
And your voice forever and ever weaves
A sleep of starry sea-weed…
Look, sea gulls are beating their wings for you.

There are drifting sails in the open sea,
Sun and waves.
The sun is mirrors, shimmering scales.
With your hair it plays,
Dresses you, holding your shoulders,
Becomes a belt on your waist, on your back gossamer;
Pearls at your neck
And the childishly cruel joy of your teeth.
Once you are deified in your youthful steps,
Seasons release their load before you,
Gardens spread at your feet!
Between dream
And fantasy,
Fantasy and truth,
There is only you!
Between night and day,
Sun and eyes,
Only you!

Why didn’t you create this world?
From the joyous gestures of your hands,
Greater beauty would have been born!
Richer would have been light
If you had called it from its own darkness;
Waters would have differently flowed,
To the sky from hard rocks,
Blue, clear, mighty waters!

Don’t ever lean over ponds
Drowned in their own green
And don’t let the wind comb your hair
In front of the infinitely hollowing mirror!
Who knows to what lands afar
The phantom you kissed lip to lip would take you!
Don’t let the gleam of the impossible
Stand between the sun and you!
And without knowing them, love people, love them!
Life is beautiful,
Where change is eternal!

From roads so far, far way
Comes our joy
That feels strange to us;
Sadness always blossoms inside us,
Who cares, we have forgotten it all!

We now know, in vain we have stretched
On the relentless wheel of stars
And in vain our bones have ached.
Is it summer, is it spring? We don’t know.
Roses, do they still blossom in gardens,
Are there women, girls,
Tales, songs? We don’t know.
Are there nights and days,
Painfully stiff faces,
Sleepless, weary eyes,
Lips kissing,
Hands that refuse to part?
Is there separation, is there leaving home?
We, who are late in vain, we don’t know,
During desolate nights,
At the edge of an already ended road,
What the departed and not returned do,
Those waiting in vain!
We are crumbs of time,
Scattered on the bare land of the moon.

How would we know!

Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar (1901-1962). Zaman Kırıntıları. Translated from the Turkish.

This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s