03 April, 2009

Poem o' the Day

Something Turkish today, I think. There's a particular beauty in Turkish poetry that's a lot like their coffee: strong, rich, and lingering.

Ahmed Arif remains one of the best poets of the 20th Century. Here's just a taste:

You bloomed,
Blue and green,
In my loneliness.
You bloomed,
Bright red, speckled and pure;
I could rise above griefs and treasons.
To go,
To go into exile in your eyes.
To be locked up,
To be locked up in the cage in your eyes.
Wherever they may be!
It isn't "To be or not to be,"
Or "Cogito ergo sum" either;
The real business is to understand the inevitable:
The avalanche that cannot be stopped,
The stream that flows forever.
To drink,
To drink the moonlight in your eyes.
To attain,
To attain life's miracle in your eyes.
Wherever they may be!

Since your soul was concealed within my soul,
When the executioner tightened the rope,
It was our love that flowed into the night,
Instead of blood.
To feel,
To feel the gallows in your eyes;
To become silent,
To become silent in your eyes;
Those razor-sharp
eyes of yours.

Translated by Nilüfer Mizanoğlu Reddy
I love the unexpected in poetry. Between quoting Decartes and using the metaphor of a gallows in a single love poem, Ahmed delivered just that. This is one of those poems that's gotten right down into the core of my being and become a part of my philosophy of life. Glorious.

1 comment:

NP said...

It makes me wish I could read it in Turkish.