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Turkish Poetry Translations II

Turkish Poetry Translations II Çanakkale Sehitlerine "For the Çanakkale Martyrs" by Mehmet Akif Ersoy loose English translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch Was there ever anything like the Bosphorus war?? The earth’s mightiest armies pressing Marmara, Forcing entry between her mountain passes To a triangle of land besieged by countless vessels. Oh, what dishonorable assemblages! Who are these Europeans, come as rapists? Who, these braying hyenas, released from their reeking cages? Why do the Old World, the New World, and all the nations of men now storm her beaches? Is it Armageddon? Truly, the whole world rages! Seven nations marching in unison! Australia goose-stepping with Canada! Different faces, languages, skin tones! Everything so different, but the mindless bludgeons! Some warriors Hindu, some African, some nameless, unknown! This disgraceful invasion, baser than the Black Death! Ah, the 20th century, so noble in its own estimation, But all its favored ones nothing but a parade of worthless wretches! For months now Turkish soldiers have been vomited up Like stomachs’ retched contents regarded with shame. If the masks had not been torn away, the faces would still be admired, But the whore called civilization is far from blameless. Now the damned demand the destruction of the doomed And thus bring destruction down on their own heads. Lightning severs horizons! Earthquakes regurgitate the bodies of the dead! Bombs’ thunderbolts explode brains, rupture the breasts of brave soldiers. Underground tunnels writhe like hell Full of the bodies of burn victims. The sky rains down death, the earth swallows the living. A terrible blizzard heaves men violently into the air. Heads, eyes, torsos, legs, arms, chins, fingers, hands, feet ... Body parts rain down everywhere. Coward hands encased in armor callously scatter Floods of thunderbolts, torrents of fire. Men’s chests gape open, Beneath the high, circling vulture-like packs of the air. Cannonballs fly as frequently as bullets Yet the heroic army laughs at the hail. Who needs steel fortresses? Who fears the enemy? How can the shield of faith not prevail? What power can make religious men bow down to their oppressors When their stronghold is established by God? The mountains and the rocks are the bodies of martyrs! ... For the sake of a crescent, oh God, many suns set, undone! Dear soldier, who fell for the sake of this land, How great you are, your blood saves the Muslims! Only the lions of Bedr rival your glory! Who then can dig the grave wide enough to hold you. and your story? If we try to consign you to history, you will not fit! No book can contain the eras you shook! Only eternities can encompass you! ... Oh martyr, son of the martyr, do not ask me about the grave: The prophet awaits you now, his arms flung wide open, to save! Sessiz Gemi (“Silent Ship”) by Yahya Kemal Beyatli loose translation by Nurgül Yayman and Michael R. Burch The time to weigh anchor has come; a ship departing harbor slips quietly out into the unknown, cruising noiselessly, its occupants already ghosts. No flourished handkerchiefs acknowledge their departure; the landlocked mourners stand nurturing their grief, scanning the bleak horizon, their eyes blurring ... Poor souls! Desperate hearts! But this is hardly the last ship departing! There is always more pain to unload in this sorrowful life! The hesitations of lovers and their belovèds are futile, for they cannot know where the vanished are bound. Many hopes must be quenched by the distant waves, since years must pass, and no one returns from this journey. Full Moon by Yahya Kemal Beyatli loose translation by Nurgül Yayman and Michael R. Burch You are so lovely the full moon just might delight in your rising, as curious and bright, to vanquish night. But what can a mortal man do, dear, but hope? I’ll ponder your mysteries and (hmmmm) try to cope. We both know you have every right to say no. The Music of the Snow by Yahya Kemal Beyatli loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch This melody of a night lasting longer than a thousand years! This music of the snow supposed to last for thousand years! Sorrowful as the prayers of a secluded monastery, It rises from a choir of a hundred voices! As the organ’s harmonies resound profoundly, I share the sufferings of Slavic grief. My mind drifts far from this city, this era, To the old records of Tanburi Cemil Bey. Now I’m suddenly overjoyed as once again I hear, With the ears of my heart, the purest sounds of Istanbul! Thoughts of the snow and darkness depart me; I keep them at bay all night with my dreams! Translator’s notes: “Slavic grief” because Beyatli wrote this poem while in Warsaw, serving as Turkey’s ambassador to Poland, in 1927. Tanburi Cemil Bey was a Turkish composer. Thinking of you by Nazim Hikmet loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch Thinking of you is beautiful, hopeful? like listening to the most beautiful songs sung by the earth's most beautiful voices. But hope is insufficient for me now; I don't want to listen to songs. I want to sing love into birth. I love you by Nazim Hikmet loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch I love you? like dipping bread into salt and eating; like waking at night with a raging fever and thirstily lapping up water, my mouth to the silver tap; like unwrapping the unwieldy box the postman delivers, unable to guess what's inside, feeling fluttery, happy, doubtful. I love you? like flying over the sea the first time as something stirs within me while the sky softly darkens over Istanbul. I love you? as men thank God gratefully for life. Sparrow by Nazim Hikmet loose translation by Michael R. Burch Little sparrow, perched on the clothesline, do you regard me with pity? Even so, I will watch you soar away through the white spring leaves. Keywords/Tags: Turkish, poetry, translation, Turkey, Turk, god, love, life, autumn, terror, time, sea, world, war

Copyright © | Year Posted 2020




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