Resistance words from Turkey

Photo by Murat Germen

A Dead Sun – by Bejan Matur

I peel night
from the dead sun’s flesh
and like a scarf
wrap it round
my head

The graves of children – by Bejan Matur

So – we died.
We flitted out of darkness.
Beaches bore witness,
as did the tiniest
of stones.

Night and stars streamed above us
where we lay buried –
along the road.

Duty – by Oktay Rifat, translated by Richard McKane

Blacker than a grape,
waist finer than a needle,
how does the ant climb
the slopes with its burden?

Look at the state of this world,
look at the ruined order,
hatched yesterday,
today the dove of passion.

In the twinkling of an eye
the hawk swoops on the swallows.
When the monster’s by the waterside
the gazelle is covered in blood.

I’m carrying the whole burden.
I have to think about each of them one by one,
the young coming into the world
ignorant of the world.

The sun rise in the east -that’s for sure-
no surprise.
Then I’m the one who has to worry
when the bee stings a child.

The fox’s paw is bloody-
something happens to the lamb.
What is the point, Oktay,
of paint for wolf and bird?

Optimistic Man – by Nazim Hikmet

as a child he never plucked the wings off flies
he didn’t tie tin cans to cats’ tails
or lock beetles in matchboxes
or stomp anthills
he grew up
and all those things were done to him
I was at his bedside when he died
he said read me a poem
about the sun and the sea
about nuclear reactors and satellites
about the greatness of humanity

After Release From Prison – by Nazim Hikmet

Where are you?
At home.
Still unaccustomed-
awake or sleeping-
to being in your own home.
This is just one more of the stupefactions
of spending thirteen years in a prison.
Who’s lying at your side?
Not loneliness, but your wife,
in the peaceful sleep of an angel.
Pregnancy looks good on a woman.
What time is it?
That means you’re safe until evening.
Because it’s the practice of police
Never to raid homes in broad daylight.


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