Farewell

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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Nirvana

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
all
and none

me
and you
and the night swallowed by
nirvana

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
Uninterrupted;
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!
For a while, surrender to the dream before you!
This evening is different from others;
The sun’s illusion creates glass palaces;
For its playful world of dreams,
The solar deity transforms glass into fairy mansions.
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;
They vanish as the West darkens.

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 Beyatlı (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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You are not earth, you are not water – very different you are:
Beyond the muddy world – love you attained…
Soul is elixir of life, it flows; body is channel;
To both water and channel, you remained indifferent.

Rumi, Jalaluddin Mevlana (1207-1273). Translated from the Turkish – The Turkish Translation by Talat S. Halman.

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