We present this work in honor of the 90th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Ahmet Haşim
1884 – 1933


Deep down, the night has massed again
My darling smiles in her wonted place
My darling who doesn’t come by day
Appears at night by the pool.

The moonlight a sash for her waist
The heavens her secret veil
The stars roses in her hand.

Translation by Murat Nemet Nejat

Han Walls

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

Faruk Nafiz Çamlıbel
1898 – 1973


Whinnied the dark horses; cracked the leather whip in air,
The wagon paused in its tracks for a moment.
For a long while rattled the springboard beneath me.
Caravanserais one after another passed in front my eyes…
With a heavy and homesick heart, I was on my way,
Along the Ulukişla road heading into Central Anatolia.
Like a first love, a first hurt, a first separation!
The air was warmed by the fire burning in my heart,
Yellow sky, yellow land, yellow bare trees…
Behind me, the high range of the Taurus Mountains,
Ahead, foothills faded by a long winter,
On spun the wheels, moaning with each turn….
My hands clutched the mane of the wind
Our wagon advanced along the mountain slope.
Everywhere was steep, everywhere was quiet,
Only the driver had a whistle on his lips!
The winding roads responded to his whistle
Snaking roads which appeared asleep
Raised their heads to listen to the emptiness.
The skies clouded over, the wind cooled down.
It began to drizzle.
As the last slope opened up onto flat a pasture
An endless plain dawned in front of us
The road connected us in one long ribbon to the horizon.
This strange land steadily drew me into it.
The road, nothing but the road, ever the road…flatness with no end in sight.
Nary the vision of a village or a house anywhere to be seen,
In the end, it is nothingness the road declares to man,
Now and then passed a rider on horseback, or a couple of foot-travelers.
Rattling over broken stones on the path,
The wheels conveyed something to the route,
The long roads vibrated amidst this clatter….
I surrendered unto the noise of the wheels
and stretched out on the thin blanket of the springboard.

A sudden jolt…I woke up from a deep sleep;
The wagon was passing over the road as smooth as water.
Ahead of us like a castle loomed the town of Niğde,
Sounds of small bells on the right:
Ahead, a camel caravan plodded slowly forth,
At the edge of the city emerged a ruined han.
A dappled darkness enveloped all,
We entered the han and unfettered the horses.
Searching a salve for throbbing wounds,
Sojourners had now gathered in the han.
Wayfarers from every corner of the land had come together here in one place,
Souls filled with homesickness clustered near the campfire.
All eyes were riveted to the glow,
Chests heaved to breathe.
The kerosene lamp blackened with soot
Drew gloomy streaks across all their faces.
The marks on their cheeks and the grief in their eyes
Gradually deepened into verses…
There was a dark wall beside my bed,
Covered with all kinds of marks and writing;
Whoever slept here had left his mortal trace on the wall,
Languid lines and lewd drawings…
I retired early at the end of this sorrowful day,
And as my wakeful eyes wandered over the wall,
Suddenly a few lines in bright red burned forth
It did not seem as a stanza of four lines, but rather like four drops of blood.
As I struggled by parse these lines on the wall
I felt I had met up with an old poet friend;
“I have been gone from Kinadağ for fourteen years now
Away from my sweet home, away from my love
Never gathering a flower from the garden of my love
Banished from one corner of the earth to the next.”
Underneath was a date: eight March, thirty seven…
I did not see any name in the place of a signature.
Destiny is in front of you, don’t be sad, my friend!
Finished now are borders, army service, wars;
Do not regret that your youth has slipped away.
The glory you took from the frontiers will reach your love!…
We moved on before sunrise on the following day,
A cold March morning… each breath froze in air.
The first rays of dawn enflamed the horizon.
We left behind us the houses at the edge of the city.
The sun rose and set behind the clouds;
In the distance appeared mounds as hulky as mountains …
Caravans slowly strode beside us,
Old hans seemingly built by a feudal lord passed in view.
Our journey kept moving ahead along these endless roads,
There, through the pass choked between two mountains.
There, where the frigid northwest wind scared me to death
I was filled with joy after crossing the mountain pass:
The places I left behind will meet the spring,
The land ahead of us was still covered with snow.
The mountain pass separated winter from summer,
Here, the final storm snapped off the last branch…
The carriage continued on at the same speed,
Snow began to hurl around us.
It buried all in a white darkness;
It was not snow that fell from the sky; but rather death…
Inside of me perished the longing to reach a village
The carriage driver yelled out: “Over there… Araplibeli!”
May God help those who remain on these roads
At the end of a day’s journey, we led our horses into a han.
Three or four travelers had arrived ahead of us
They sat cross-legged before the open fire,
The crackling wood enlivened all four with spirit,
One told a story of a bandit, the other the fable of a wolf…
As I began to doze off to sleep,
The black soot left petal-like images on the wall.
These lines in my heart emerged from the black soot,
“If the remembrance of my love enflames my desire;
My strength is not enough to fight it
I journey forth like a dried leaf
The wind decides my destiny.”
In the morning, the sky was bright and the horizon clear,
Our carriage headed out on the road to meet a sunny day
Along these endless roads passing from one foreign land to another.
It has been but three days since I left, but it feels as long as three seasons.
After a long ride, we arrived in Incesu,
Exhausted, we fell into a sweet slumber in a han.
At sunrise I awoke from a dream of death,
I felt much sorrow when I read these lines above my bed!
“I am a stranger, people call me Kerem
They took my beloved Asli away from me and said she was forbidden to me
I am ill; they say it is tuberculosis
My name is Satilmiş, I am the son of a sheik from Maraş.”
One feels that it was his epitaph writ in those lines,
I fear you never made it home from this foreign land.
O You! Son of a sheik from Maraş, saint’s vow!
Cursed was your luck that you could not cross this mountaın!
Let it be, for you are not the only one who never made it back home,
Many have perished among nameless bandits and wolves in the wilderness!…
Our carriage headed out on the road towards Mount Erciyes:
“Han Keeper”, I asked, “have you ever met the son of a sheik from Maraş?”
His startled eyes peered at me for quite a while,
He then replied:
“A while back he entered this han a healthy man and he left it dead!”
Everything changed now in front of my tear-filled eyes,
Şeyhoğlu, our sojourner far from home, never made it beyond this han…
The sad news of the fellow wayfarer from Maraş tore at my heart.
Many years have passed since that day until now
Yet still I shudder each time I pass a han along the road.
For I know the secret sorrows held within their walls
O! These ancient roads which connect villages to frontiers,
Ancient roads grieving for those who will never return home!
O! These han walls writ with such mournful lines
O! These han walls which wring my heart!…

Translation by Katharine Branning


We present this work in honor of the 35th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Oktay Rıfat Horozcu
1914 – 1988


He died –
he doesn’t know he died,
his two hands lie by his side.
They’ll carry him away,
nor can he say,
‘I won’t go!’
He couldn’t even give thanks
to the friends who bore his coffin.

Ah, his death is like no other’s.

Translation by Ruth Christie

Nevermind My Heart

We present this work in honor of the 75th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Sabahattin Ali
1907 – 1948


Do not let your head tilt forward
Nevermind my heart, never mind
Don’t let them hear you’re crying
Nevermind my heart, nevermind

Crazy waves outside
Come and lick the walls
These sounds distract you
Nevermind my heart, nevermind

Even if you can’t see the sea
Turn your look upwards
The sky is like the sea
Nevermind my heart, nevermind

When your troubles rear up
Send a reproach to Allah
There are still days to see
Nevermind my heart, nevermind

Bullets finish by shooting
Roads end by walking
Your sentence finishes by serving
Nevermind my heart, nevermind

Finally, the Exorcism

We present this work in honor of the 105th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Nigâr Hanım
1856 – 1918


Finally, the exorcism, finally
I did not stay within my heart

What is my heart to mark a feeling
Every limb is supposed to be caressed with fur

I love that Nigâr stretches out to heaven with these poems:
As for you, actually, you are always attracted to yourself

Love… that bloodthirsty thing… that close-clinging accident
Do not kill your leash

The ferry will not help the werewolf
Unburdening myself will not resign me

I love what I have and who I am.
I had a chance to love.
Empty heart, empty heart, an empty life…

I am delighted with this life of dreams and elimination
Lonely, cheerful, passionate and playful
I passed and then became a prisoner

Well, if I die… I am happy

Translation by Linda Marshall

from The Halieutica

Oppian of Corycus
183 – c. 200


O cruel Love, crafty of counsel,
of all gods fairest to behold with the eyes,
of all most grievous when thou dost vex the heart
with unforeseen assault, entering the soul
like a storm-wind and breathing the bitter menace of fire,
with hurricane of anguish and untempered pain.
The shedding of tears is for thee a sweet delight
and to hear the deep-wrung groan;
to inflame a burning redness in the heart
and to blight and wither the bloom upon the cheek,
to make the eyes hollow and to wrest all the mind to madness.
Many thou dost even roll to doom,
even those whom thou meetest in wild and wintry sort,
fraught with frenzy; for in such festivals is thy delight.
Whether then thou art the eldest-born among blessed gods
and from unsmiling Chaos didst arise with fierce and flaming torch
and didst first establish the ordinances of wedded love
and order the rites of the marriage-bed;
or whether Aphrodite of many counsels, queen of Paphos,
bare thee a winged god on soaring pinions,
be thou gracious and to us come gentle and with fair weather
and in tempered measure; for none refuses the work of Love.
Everywhere thou bearest sway and everywhere thou art desired
at once and greatly feared;
and happy is he who cherishes and guards in his breast a temperate Love.
Nor doth the race of Heaven suffice thee nor the breed of men;
thou rejectest not the wild beasts nor all the brood of the barren air;
under the coverts of the nether deep dost thou descend
and even among the finny tribes thou dost array thy darkling shafts;
that naught may be left ignorant of thy compelling power,
not even the fish that swims beneath the waters.

Translation by A.W. Mair

Song of a Dweller in a High-Rise Block

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 90th birthday.

Gülten Akin
1933 – 2015


They piled the houses high,
in front long balconies.
Far below was water
far below were trees

They piled the houses high,
a thousand stairs to climb.
The outlook a far cry
and friendships further still.

They piled the houses high
in glass and concrete drowned.
In our wisdom we forgot
the earth that was remote
and those who stayed earthbound.

Translation by Ruth Christie


We present this work in honor of the Turkish holiday, Republic Day.

Yahya Kemal Beyatli
1884 – 1958


The great Itri has of old been called
The Patron of our music;
How he leads the people far and near,
That conqueror of the day-break,
On how many holiday mornings early
Rattling the heavens with their voices massed together,
Have they chanted the magnificent Tekbir.
From Budapest to Iraq, even unto Egypt,
From the furthest conquered lands,
The breeze free-flowing o’er the homeland,
Brought with it sound from every blossoming spring.
This man of genius collected them
So that from the plane trees he heard us,
Heard our tale of seven centuries.
In his music flowed on one hand Faith,
On the other, all of Life;
From every side that brightness of the city, the Bosphorus
Flowed with the blue Tunca, and proud Euphrates.
With what voices, with our sky and earth,
With our sadness, our passion, our victories,
Flowed that creation, which resembled us.
How many times have I listened to the Neva-Kâr,
A refrain which is both broad and lively:
While scattering the secrets of the mode Neva,
Brightness shines from the horizons of the Orient;
Drunk with every syllable of his words,
By night, one by one they set out,
Toward the dawn go fifty million souls.
But Chance and Fortune enviously
Have hidden more than a thousand of his works,
As his inheritance there remain to us but twenty.
His Hymn to the Prophet, most awesome and profound,
Then appear the flute and kettle-drum,
And while the turning of the dervishes grows wilder,
His liturgy ascends the seven-tiered Celestial Throne.
He who was the master of a splendid world
Of voice and string,
Remains to us a mystery.
Our learned men know not, who was he?
Who hides his works today?
Are they a treasure kept by Eternity?
Does someone know? Where might they be today?
Death, which covers up such music
Leaves no consolation to mankind.
My heart still is blind
As in exile it passes many hours,
It falls into a pleasant revery:
Perhaps those compositions are yet played,
On an Ocean which never ship shall pass.

Rug Under Seagull

We present this work in honor of the 35th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Nilgun Marmara
1958 – 1987


Countries on a misty atlas are
houses that smell of mold now,
plastered with the blood of wounded seagulls.

One turns around clumsily,
in the house it entered by mistake,
comparing the corpse of the world on its wings
with what happens inside.

Outside, street kids play
red and green games,
pathetic tissue with limitless freedom!

The pained body of the seagull drops.

Love is a little rug;
A little sea counted by its walls!

Translation by Sevda Akyuz