A Fallow Deer

There wasn’t a single soul, we remember well
Early one morning we were born
Silence all around
Sea urchins slowly breathing

Everything was ready on earth
The sky, the lowlands, the mountains had taken their place
Everything constantly growing
We realized we were now on earth

Each of us fell in love with the earth
Those who saw the sea went crazy
A gazelle gave such a look to the sky
I shan’t forget it all my life

A little earlier than us, I believe
The sky, the lowlands, the mountains had arrived
The sky, the lowlands, the mountains
Were just coming round

Our true delight was when we saw the sun
Wherever it went
Man’s height, rose the grass
Whatever it touched
For a while couldn’t come round

One morning by the sea side
It took over a grove in its sleep
The grove went mad, I saw it
I saw how a grove went mad
It began to sing, I still remember

The sky took on a wretched look
A look that would linger a hundred years
For taking up such space on earth
Obviously it was ashamed

Even then it was clear
The sky, the lowlands
Would tightly embrace the earth
Not to be distracted from life

I’ll never forget, it was late afternoon, it rained
All the fish in the sea surfaced
We paused and listened
Precisely five minutes, we listened to the earth

Everything happened slowly
Ivy grew slowly
A window opened slowly
From within the earth

Towards the mountains, towards the lowlands, some of us ran that day
Some of us ran towards the rivers
We were very happy, we remember
This is all we know today

İlhan Berk (1918-2008). Bir Alageyik. Translated from the Turkish.

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