Thursday, September 20, 2007

Nazim Hikmet had a dream

Nazim Hikmet had a dream:

Yaşamak bir ağaç gibi tek ve hür
ve bir orman gibi kardeşçesine,
bu hasret bizim.

To live like a tree and at liberty
and brotherly like the trees of a forest,
this yearning is ours.

- - -

Thus spake my closest friend, Tetrapilotomos:
"Sometimes I think: Past is. Is presence. Impossible to let bygones be bygones or even forget about. It’s there. Is presence. And maybe herein lies the reason that we remain unable to learn from the past."

- - -
The following poem by Hikmet is dedicated, especially to those being in power in Turkey, pretending to love the(ir?) country, pretending to be the most democratic democrats ever on Turkish soil and under Turkish sun, pretending to be guarantors of free speech and guardians of freedom of opinion, and who - like most of their predecessors - have banned Nazim Hikmet’s books from public libraries.

I love my country :
I have swung on its plane trees, I have stayed in its prisons.
Nothing can overcome my spleen
as the songs and tobacco of my country.

My country :
Bedreddin, Sinan, Yunus Emre and Sakarya,
lead domes and factory chimneys
are all the work of my people
who even hiding from themselves
smile under their drooping mustaches.

My country.
My country is so large :
it seems that it is endless to go around.
Edirné, Izmir, Ulukıshla, Marash, Trabzon, Erzurum.
I know the Erzurum plateau only in its songs
and I am ashamed
not to have crossed Tauruses even once
to go to the cotton pickers
in the south.

My country :
camels, train, Fords and sick donkeys,
and red earth.

My country.
The trout which likes
pine forests, best freshwaters and the lakes
at the top of mountains,
and at least half a kilo,
with red reflections on its scaleless, silver skin
swims in the Abant lake of Bolu.

My country :
goats on the Ankara plain :
the sheen of blond, silky, long furs.
The fat plump hazelnuts of Giresun.
The fragrant red-cheeked apples of Amasya,
and of all colours
bunches and bunches of grapes
and then the plough
and then the black ox
and then : ready to accept
advanced, beautiful and good
with the joyous admiration of a child
my hard-working, honest, brave people
half hungry, half full
half slave...

tr. by Fuat Engin

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