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Best Famous Nazim Hikmet Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Nazim Hikmet poems. This is a select list of the best famous Nazim Hikmet poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Nazim Hikmet poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Nazim Hikmet poems.

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by Nazim Hikmet | |

Lion In An Iron Cage

 Look at the lion in the iron cage,
look deep into his eyes:
 like two naked steel daggers
 they sparkle with anger.
But he never loses his dignity although his anger comes and goes goes and comes.
You couldn't find a place for a collar round his thick, furry mane.
Although the scars of a whip still burn on his yellow back his long legs stretch and end in the shape of two copper claws.
The hairs on his mane rise one by one around his proud head.
His hatred comes and goes goes and comes .
.
.
The shadow of my brother on the wall of the dungeon moves up and down up and down.


by Nazim Hikmet | |

Autobiography

 Oh, both my shoes are shiny new,
And pristine is my hat;
My dress is 1922.
.
.
.
My life is all like that.


by Nazim Hikmet | |

Optimistic Man

 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


More great poems below...

by Nazim Hikmet | |

About My Poetry

 I have no silver-saddled horse to ride,
no inheritance to live on,
neither riches no real-estate --
a pot of honey is all I own.
A pot of honey red as fire! My honey is my everything.
I guard my riches and my real-estate -- my honey pot, I mean -- from pests of every species, Brother, just wait.
.
.
As long as I've got honey in my pot, bees will come to it from Timbuktu.
.
.


by Nazim Hikmet | |

Some Advice To Those Who Will Serve Time In Prison

 If instead of being hanged by the neck
 you're thrown inside
 for not giving up hope
in the world, your country, your people,
 if you do ten or fifteen years
 apart from the time you have left,
you won't say,
 "Better I had swung from the end of a rope
 like a flag" --
You'll put your foot down and live.
It may not be a pleasure exactly, but it's your solemn duty to live one more day to spite the enemy.
Part of you may live alone inside, like a tone at the bottom of a well.
But the other part must be so caught up in the flurry of the world that you shiver there inside when outside, at forty days' distance, a leaf moves.
To wait for letters inside, to sing sad songs, or to lie awake all night staring at the ceiling is sweet but dangerous.
Look at your face from shave to shave, forget your age, watch out for lice and for spring nights, and always remember to eat every last piece of bread-- also, don't forget to laugh heartily.
And who knows, the woman you love may stop loving you.
Don't say it's no big thing: it's like the snapping of a green branch to the man inside.
To think of roses and gardens inside is bad, to think of seas and mountains is good.
Read and write without rest, and I also advise weaving and making mirrors.
I mean, it's not that you can't pass ten or fifteen years inside and more -- you can, as long as the jewel on the left side of your chest doesn't lose it's luster! May 1949


by Nazim Hikmet | |

Angina Pectoris

 If half my heart is here, doctor,
 the other half is in China
with the army flowing
 toward the Yellow River.
And, every morning, doctor, every morning at sunrise my heart is shot in Greece.
And every night,c doctor, when the prisoners are asleep and the infirmary is deserted, my heart stops at a run-down old house in Istanbul.
And then after ten years all i have to offer my poor people is this apple in my hand, doctor, one read apple: my heart.
And that, doctor, that is the reason for this angina pectoris-- not nicotine, prison, or arteriosclerosis.
I look at the night through the bars, and despite the weight on my chest my heart still beats with the most distant stars.


by Nazim Hikmet | |

Regarding Art

 Sometimes, I, too, tell the ah's
of my heart one by one
like the blood-red beads
of a ruby rosary strung
 on strands of golden hair!

But my
poetry's muse
takes to the air
on wings made of steel
like the I-beams
 of my suspension bridges!

I don't pretend
 the nightingale's lament
to the rose isn't easy on the ears.
.
.
But the language that really speaks to me are Beethoven sonatas played on copper, iron, wood, bone, and catgut.
.
.
You can "have" galloping off in a cloud of dust! Me, I wouldn't trade for the purest-bred Arabian steed the sixth mph of my iron horse running on iron tracks! Sometimes my eye is caught like a big dumb fly by the masterly spider webs in the corners of my room.
But I really look up to the seventy-seven-story, reinforced-concrete mountains my blue-shirted builders create! Were I to meet the male beauty "young Adonis, god of Byblos," on a bridge, I'd probably never notice; but I can't help staring into my philosopher's glassy eyes or my fireman's square face red as a sweating sun! Though I can smoke third-class cigarettes filled on my electric workbenches, I can't roll tobacco - even the finest- in paper by hand and smoke it! I didn't -- "wouldn't" -- trade my wife dressed in her leather cap and jacket for Eve's nakedness! Maybe I don't have a "poetic soul"? What can I do when I love my own children more than mother Nature's!


by Nazim Hikmet | |

Last Will And Testament

 Comrades, if I don't live to see the day
-- I mean,if I die before freedom comes --
take me away
and bury me in a village cemetery in Anatolia.
The worker Osman whom Hassan Bey ordered shot can lie on one side of me, and on the other side the martyr Aysha, who gave birth in the rye and died inside of forty days.
Tractors and songs can pass below the cemetery -- in the dawn light, new people, the smell of burnt gasoline, fields held in common, water in canals, no drought or fear of the police.
Of course, we won't hear those songs: the dead lie stretched out underground and rot like black branches, deaf, dumb, and blind under the earth.
But, I sang those songs before they were written, I smelled the burnt gasoline before the blueprints for the tractors were drawn.
As for my neighbors, the worker Osman and the martyr Aysha, they felt the great longing while alive, maybe without even knowing it.
Comrades, if I die before that day, I mean -- and it's looking more and more likely -- bury me in a village cemetery in Anatolia, and if there's one handy, a plane tree could stand at my head, I wouldn't need a stone or anything.
Moscow, Barviha Hospital


by Nazim Hikmet | |

A Sad State Of Freedom

 You waste the attention of your eyes, 
the glittering labour of your hands, 
and knead the dough enough for dozens of loaves 
of which you'll taste not a morsel; 
you are free to slave for others-- 
you are free to make the rich richer.
The moment you're born they plant around you mills that grind lies lies to last you a lifetime.
You keep thinking in your great freedom a finger on your temple free to have a free conscience.
Your head bent as if half-cut from the nape, your arms long, hanging, your saunter about in your great freedom: you're free with the freedom of being unemployed.
You love your country as the nearest, most precious thing to you.
But one day, for example, they may endorse it over to America, and you, too, with your great freedom-- you have the freedom to become an air-base.
You may proclaim that one must live not as a tool, a number or a link but as a human being-- then at once they handcuff your wrists.
You are free to be arrested, imprisoned and even hanged.
There's neither an iron, wooden nor a tulle curtain in your life; there's no need to choose freedom: you are free.
But this kind of freedom is a sad affair under the stars.


by Nazim Hikmet | |

Our Eyes

 Our eyes
 are limpid
 drops of water.
In each drop exists a tiny sign of our genius which has given life to cold iron.
Our eyes are limpid drops of water merged absolutely in the Ocean that you could hardly recognize the drop in a block of ice in a boiling pan.
The masterpiece of these eyes the fulfillment of their genius the living iron.
In these eyes filled with limpid pure tears had failed to emerge from the infinite Ocean if the strength had dispersed, we could never have mated the dynamo with the turbine, never have moved those steel mountains in water easily as if made of hollow wood.
The masterpiece of these eyes the fulfillment of their genius of our unified labour the living iron.


by Nazim Hikmet | |

Hymn To Life

 The hair falling on your forehead
 suddenly lifted.
Suddenly something stirred on the ground.
The trees are whispering in the dark.
Your bare arms will be cold.
Far off where we can't see, the moon must be rising.
It hasn't reached us yet, slipping through the leaves to light up your shoulder.
But I know a wind comes up with the moon.
The trees are whispering.
Your bare arms will be cold.
From above, from the branches lost in the dark, something dropped at your feet.
You moved closer to me.
Under my hand your bare flesh is like the fuzzy skin of a fruit.
Neither a song of the heart nor "common sense"-- before the trees, birds, and insects, my hand on my wife's flesh is thinking.
Tonight my hand can't read or write.
Neither loving nor unloving.
.
.
It's the tongue of a leopard at a spring, a grape leaf, a wolf's paw.
To move, breathe, eat, drink.
My hand is like a seed splitting open underground.
Neither a song of the heart nor "common sense," neither loving nor unloving.
My hand thinking on my wife's flesh is the hand of the first man.
Like a root that finds water underground, it says to me: "To eat, drink, cold, hot, struggle, smell, color-- not to live in order to die but to die to live.
.
.
" And now as red female hair blows across my face, as something stirs on the ground, as the trees whisper in the dark, and as the moon rises far off where we can't see, my hand on my wife's flesh before the trees, birds, and insects, I want the right of life, of the leopard at the spring, of the seed splitting open-- I want the right of the first man.


by Nazim Hikmet | |

Letter To My Wife

 11-11-1933
 Bursa Prison
My one and only!
Your last letter says:
"My head is throbbing,
 my heart is stunned!"
You say:
"If they hang you,
 if I lose you,
 I'll die!"
You'll live, my dear--
my memory will vanish like black smoke in the wind.
Of course you'll live, red-haired lady of my heart: in the twentieth century grief lasts at most a year.
Death-- a body swinging from a rope.
My heart can't accept such a death.
But you can bet if some poor gypsy's hairy black spidery hand slips a noose around my neck, they'll look in vain for fear in Nazim's blue eyes! In the twilight of my last morning I will see my friends and you, and I'll go to my grave regretting nothing but an unfinished song.
.
.
My wife! Good-hearted, golden, eyes sweeter than honey--my bee! Why did I write you they want to hang me? The trial has hardly begun, and they don't just pluck a man's head like a turnip.
Look, forget all this.
If you have any money, buy me some flannel underwear: my sciatica is acting up again.
And don't forget, a prisoner's wife must always think good thoughts.


by Nazim Hikmet | |

The Strangest Creature On Earth

 You're like a scorpion, my brother,
you live in cowardly darkness
 like a scorpion.
You're like a sparrow, my brother, always in a sparrow's flutter.
You're like a clam, my brother, closed like a clam, content, And you're frightening, my brother, like the mouth of an extinct volcano.
Not one, not five-- unfortunately, you number millions.
You're like a sheep, my brother: when the cloaked drover raises his stick, you quickly join the flock and run, almost proudly, to the slaughterhouse.
I mean you're strangest creature on earth-- even stranger than the fish that couldn't see the ocean for the water.
And the oppression in this world is thanks to you.
And if we're hungry, tired, covered with blood, and still being crushed like grapes for our wine, the fault is yours-- I can hardly bring myself to say it, but most of the fault, my dear brother, is yours.


by Nazim Hikmet | |

Today Is Sunday

 Today is Sunday.
For the first time they took me out into the sun today.
And for the first time in my life I was aghast that the sky is so far away and so blue and so vast I stood there without a motion.
Then I sat on the ground with respectful devotion leaning against the white wall.
Who cares about the waves with which I yearn to roll Or about strife or freedom or my wife right now.
The soil, the sun and me.
.
.
I feel joyful and how.


by Nazim Hikmet | |

Its This Way

 I stand in the advancing light,
my hands hungry, the world beautiful.
My eyes can't get enough of the trees-- they're so hopeful, so green.
A sunny road runs through the mulberries, I'm at the window of the prison infirmary.
I can't smell the medicines-- carnations must be blooming nearby.
It's this way: being captured is beside the point, the point is not to surrender.


by Nazim Hikmet | |

Don Quixote

 The knight of immortal youth
at the age of fifty found his mind in his heart
and on July morning went out to capture
the right, the beautiful, the just.
Facing him a world of silly and arrogant giants, he on his sad but brave Rocinante.
I know what it means to be longing for something, but if your heart weighs only a pound and sixteen ounces, there's no sense, my Don, in fighting these senseless windmills.
But you are right, of course, Dulcinea is your woman, the most beautiful in the world; I'm sure you'll shout this fact at the face of street-traders; but they'll pull you down from your horse and beat you up.
But you, the unbeatable knight of our curse, will continue to glow behind the heavy iron visor and Dulcinea will become even more beautiful.