Staircase

We present this work in honor of the Commemoration of Ataturk.

Ahmet Haşim
Turkish
1884 – 1933

 

Slowly, slowly will you mount this stairway
—A heap of sun-tinged leaves upon your skirts–
And for a while gaze weeping at the sky…

The waters darken and your face grows pale,
Look at the scarlet air, for evening comes…

Bowed towards the earth, the roses endless glow,
Flame-like the nightingales bleed upon the boughs;
Has marble turned to bronze, do waters burn?

This is a secret tongue that fills the soul
Look at the scarlet air, for evening comes…

In Praise of the Divers Instruments of Music

In honor of National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, we present this work by one of Turkey’s cleverest poets.

Rewani
Turkish
1475 – 1524

 

Come hither, Mistrel of the Feast of Time,
Whose minstrelsy ennobleth every clime!
As thou the songster at Joy’s Banquet art,
Wilt thou not look on us in kindly part?
Let all the feast be filled with melody,
Let beauties carol in thy company.
Be all the instruments of music blent,
And let the veil of mystery be rent.
For each is potent in some gramarye,
Magicians some, and some enchaters be.

The Harp in magic craft is great of worth,
It brings the new moon down from heaven to earth.
The Mandoline pursues its humours e’er;
If thou would have it sing, then twist its ear.
The Mandoline can’t grapple with the Lute;
Then why torment itself when naught can boot?
A spell it sings when chants the Dulcimer;
It is the ruler for Love’s register.
No Tabret deem that in the minstrel’s hand,
A target ‘tis woe’s arrows to withstand.
What wonder if it all the world o’erthrow? —
The bandit Viol’s armed with shaft and bow.
Amid the feast to call me into mind
The Flute a thread doth round its finger bind.
Where bides one like the Ghittern sweet of say,
The chosen, the elect of the array?

Since joy of soul doth from their voices tide,
Withouten music let no party bide.

In the Garden

Fitnat Hanim
Turkish
1725 – 1780

 

In the garden, the roses were all bewildered as they watched your cheek
Jealous of your lovelocks the hyacinths were all distraught

We deserved one attractive glance, but alas, what to do
Our bosom is constantly the target of eyelash-arrows

Oh you with rosebud lip, I imagined your crimson cheek
And it became the envy of every rose in the dwelling of my memory

You give savor to the party, oh lovely mine of salt,
For the cup of wine is but a salt-bowl reflecting your ruby lip

Oh Fitnat, when that sweet mouth begins to speak alluringly,
Blessed by abundant speech the world all becomes a field of sugarcane

Those Who Painted My Portrait

Nef’î
Turkish
1572 – 1635

 

Those who painted my portrait painted me
With cup in hand
When they saw I was drunk on the wine of love,
They drew me as a drunkard

If the zâhid were wise, he wouldn’t ask me
to give up pleasure
What a shame! They have portrayed me as crazy,
and him as sane!

What you see in the eye of the lover
in not the shadow of her eyelash
They have drawn the darkness of her cheek-down
onto the white of the weeping eye

I am that lover whose fame in humility
has taken the entire city
Those who wrote the story of Mejnûn
have written it in vain!

Oh Nef’î, from the way you speak we see
Yyur heart is burning
When they write your verse, their pens
shall burst in flame!

from Safahat

Mehmet Akif Ersoy
Turkish
1873 – 1936

 

Does a great nation think it is a blessing
To be captive of a person by your order o God?
Does a sword of oppression to burn and destroy the world
Attack like this by your command o God?
Your fury let oppressors do what they want
Even conscience will say with despair there is no divine justice.
Thousands of sparkling sighs raise to heavens
Heavens only repeat the raising sighs
On one side houses of thousands of poors are burning
On the other side the light of millions of youngsters is faded
A stricken mother whose hand is on her chest
Moans because she buried her son into black soil.
Many unfortunate people cry losing their honor
In order to eat a handful of bread.
Thousands of orphans bowed their heads down
Families who lost their homes look for a shelter.
Oppressed people complains, oppressors are in regret
Bloody murderer is drowned in the blood of his victims.
Don´t you think the world scene famous with showing
—Sick, stricken, naked, miserable, paralyzed, incapable
Poor, unworthy, cruel, troubled, captived people,
Unfortunately all this endless crowd—
Presents a bloody watch o God?

From Another Hill

Yahya Kemal Beyatli
Turkish
1884 – 1958

 

I looked at you from another hill, dear Istanbul!
I know you like back of my hand, and love you dearly.
Come, come and sit on my heart’s throne as long as I live
Just to love a district of yours is worth a whole life.

There are many flourishing cities in the world.
But you’re the only one who creates enchanting beauty.
I say, he who has lived happily, in the longest dream,
Is he who spent his life in you, died in you, and was buried in you.

I Walk on a Long and Narrow Road

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 125th birthday.

Âşık Veysel Şatıroğlu
Turkish
1894 – 1973

 

I am on a long and narrow road,
I walk day and night;
I do not know what state I am in
I walk day and night;

The moment I came into the world,
I walked at the same time
At an inn with two doors
I walk day and night.

I walk even while sleeping,
I am looking for a reason to stay
I always see the ones that left
I walk day and night

Forty-nine years on these roads
In the valleys, mountains, and deserts
In foreign lands I make my way
I walk day and night

If deeply thought about
The goal seems very far from sight
While the road is only a minute long
I walk day and night

Veysel does wonder at this state
Lament or laughter, which is right?
Still to attain the distant goal
I walk day and night