Tropics

Already the solstice,
I wait all alone in the bosom of a pitch-black night,
Feeling, seeing, knowing, the tropics will come one day.

All alone, in the bosom of a pitch-black night.
Somewhere far away, suns rise,
The tropics, I see,
All alone, I’m the branch of a dry tree,
Some things somewhere take root, far away,
The tropics, I know,
My lips are cracked, no sound, no breath,
Far away somewhere songs are sung,
The tropics, I feel.

Feeling, knowing, seeing,
Tropics, solstice,
I know, the tropics will come one day.

Barış Manço (1943-1999). Dönence. Translated from the Turkish.

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In the Rain

Let’s go to the forest, my friend;
Sit down within the sounds of deer.
Renewal, joy, harmony,
Imagination, thoughts, put them aside,
For the first time, let us just see.

Like seagulls, in the rain.

Melih Cevdet Anday (1915-2002). Yağmurun Altında. Translated from the Turkish.

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And What’s an Actor After All

And what’s an actor after all? While acting, we are.
When no more, our voice just a nice sound in the sky.
Fades away after a while.
At most, we are pale visions in old programmes.

I see you are all ready to rush to the cloakroom.
The theater will be empty soon,
But, actually, that’s when it comes alive:
Affixed to a curtain, one of Satenik’s songs,
Absorbed by the balustrade, one of my monologues,
A Hiranuş and Virjinya dialogue in the tear of an old costume.

Yes, in the stillness, these images come out of hiding
And again pour onto the stage as whispers.
We’re not there, no audience.
But our lines till dawn keep whispering to each other.

The day breaks, cleaners arrive, lines escape to their places.

Curtain.

Haldun Taner (1915-1986). The final lines in the play “Sersem Koca’nın Kurnaz Karısı” (The Clever Wife of the Foolish Husband). Translated from the Turkish.

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By the Stove

One evening, a quiet knock on your door,
Instantly, the furniture pulsates.
You get up, leave your chilly pillows,
Open the door with trembling hands.

A familiar vision appears,
Holding it by the shoulders, shake it;
Even if just skin and bone, let it for a moment,
With kisses, take you into its bosom.

And as the vision returns to its underworld,
Close the door behind it;
On your own by the stove,
In silence, looking at your hands, feel the warmth.

Ahmet Kutsi Tecer (1901-1967). Ocak Başında. Translated from the Turkish.

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Offering

And years later dear Marya,
Coal black, the sky,
The earth spotless,
If you happen to pass by “Another Life”,
Time will have already left my eyes,
Distance slipped out of my hands!

But the poems, scattered
All around, auction time!
They mustn’t be left with nowhere to go,
These orphan victims, my love,
Are all for you,
All offerings to you…

Bekir Sıtkı Erdoğan (1926-2004). Adak. Translated from the Turkish.

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Marya

“Another Life” casino faded away,
Songs faded away…
Colours on my palette, on my brush, faded away.
And tonight for the first time in the northern bay,
The aria pouring out of the shutters of Peramos faded away…
No crew now, no “Bar Komandos”,
No ember skin, scarlet feathered canary.
On this lonely tropical night,
Bamboo reeds shrouded in remorseful silence,
Shrouded in pain…
Like suddenly finding ourselves
Shrouded in a yellow mist of misgiving.
As wretched as that.
Nothing, I want to think of nothing!
But, on the fourth watchtower
There’s a suspicious signal.
No, no these are all lies!
No more do I believe in fate or fortune;
She’s lying, the fortune teller woman, the Indian pariah!
Only in you, I believe,
Only in you Marya!

Each night spent like this, so anguished.
The ungracious stars, the mystery, the vast sea
And the hanging lantern entrusted to the sky…
Believe me dear Marya!
Believe me, since you left,
All is strange, all is sorrow,
All, an unrelenting burden on my shoulders,
Drudgery, all of it.

I know, at sunrise this morning,
A ship shall anchor in this ungrateful port;
In spite of Paul’s everlasting mourning,
Virginia could be on it!
But I know, you are not…
How quickly you forgot your promise, Marya.
You said you would come in the spring, didn’t you?
It’s spring now!
Why don’t you come, why don’t you?

Do you know why my brush trembles
And the background is yellow in my paintings?
You see my love, don’t you?
Absorbed in all the papers…
The tropical poison, the chronic malaria.

Without you how empty the quay,
How desolate the city…
In front of the platoon guards’ eyes,
They still, one by one, have stolen the stars from the bay.
Again, several dockmen, several palikaria.
But, who would think about the stars,
The locals have shot Captain Arnold,
In mourning, the whole squad.

These people, this sky, this sea, this land,
Condemned to disappear one by one, one by one…
We, so long speechless within this yellow nostalgia,
For so long, lost.
Are you, are you crying Maria?
Wipe your eyes my love, wipe your eyes,
What does our absence matter,
Our love is.

Bekir Sıtkı Erdoğan (1926-2014). Marya. Translated from the Turkish.

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I

I, the solitary traveller of the street of unknowns;
I, the child who escapes from the echo of his own voice.

I, on his back, carrying the uncommitted sin;
The blind man of God in blind man’s buff, the sultan of djinns.

I, the untired watchmen of inns with no travellers;
I, the everlasting forest of unheating stokeholes.

I, the arctic sailing boat on frozen rocks;
The golden fortune of orphans, on the starry lights between minarets.

I, head too heavy, thought falling into the void;
In the wheel of ego, the suffering and blind horse.

I, responsible for the transgressions of those who speak of God;
I, the past of today, the future of tomorrow.

I, I, I; upon seeing the sea on the map, the drowned;
The possessor of lands, from them, the expelled.

Always am I mirror and dream; always moth and candle;
The dead and the Denier – the Denied; the dizziness, the abyss…

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