Özdemir Asaf and Yıldız Moran Arun

For the month of November – my most favorite autumn time, I will make a virtual visit with an artist or a writer (or both, as is the case today) of my country of birth.  Why Turkey?  Why now?  Well, I have reached and fast passing the autumn of my life and have begun to feel an increasing nostalgia toward the world corner where I first joined the living.  November is marked for us in the U.S. as the month of thanksgiving.  It is my way of giving thanks to my birthing place in this manner.  And I just would love it, if you were to join me on that travel for a little longer…on Wednesdays…and only for a month…

 

 

The video above vocalizes a reading of “Yalnızlık Paylaşılmaz,” one of the many poems on loneliness by Turkey’s widely reputed poet, Özdemir Asaf – Halit Özdemir Arun, with his real name (1923-1981):

Yalnızlık, yaşamda bir an,

Hep yeniden başlayan…

Dışından anlaşılmaz.

 

Ya da kocaman bir yalan,

Kovdukça kovalayan…

Paylaşılmaz.

 

Bir düşünde, beni sana ayıran

Yalnızlık paylaşılmaz

Paylaşılsa yanlızlık olmaz.

Loneliness, an instant in life,

Always occurring anew…

An enigma from the outside.

 

Or, a colossal deceit,

One that chases the more it is chased…

Cannot be shared.

 

Saving me for you in one of your dreams

Loneliness cannot be shared

If it could, it would not transpire.

(My own translation, as of 10.29.2013)

Özdemir Asaf – with his best-known name, is considered a prominent landmark when contemporary Turkish literature is considered, not only for his poetic work in his native tongue but also for his translations from French poets and writers in journals and anthologies since 1940.

Yıldız Moran Arun (1932-1995), the poet’s wife was Turkey’s first professionally trained female photographer.  An article in Kadınlar Gökkuşağı claims that – while on one single day, 25 of her photographs were purchased in Cambridge; Moran’s photographic art was overlooked in her country of birth, Turkey, despite its popular appeal.  Her accounts on how she met her husband count as some of the most critical representations of Özdemir Asaf in his true light.

The poem below constitutes one of the poet’s perhaps most passionate verses on loneliness, with my English translation following immediately:

Sen herşeyi süpürebilirsin; sonbaharı süpüremezsin
yalnızsa sürekli bir sonbaharı süpürür hep..

Düşünemezsin.

Yanar sobasında yalnız’ın üşüyen bakışları.
Lambasında karınlığa dönük bir ışık titrer sönük-sönük.
Penceresi dışına kapanmıştır kapısı içine örtük.

Yalnız bin yıl yaşar kendini bir an’da.

Yalnız’ın nesi var nesi yoksa tümü birdenbire’dir.

Yalnız bir ordudur kendi çölünde..
Sonsuz savaşlarında hep yener kendi ordusunu.

Yalnız’ın sakladığı bir şey vardır;
Boyuna yerini değiştirir boyuna onu arar… Biri bulsa diye.

Yalnız hem bilgesi hem delisidir kendi dünyasının.
Ayrıca; hem efendisi hem kölesidir kendisinin.
Tadını çıkaramaz görece’siz dünyasında hiçbirisinin.

Yalnız sürekli dinleyendir söylenmemiş bir sözü.

Sözünde durması yalnız’ın yalancılığıdır kendisine..
Hep yüzüne vurur utancı. O yüzden gözlerini kaçırır gözlerinden.

Yalnız’ın odasında ikinci bir yalnızlıktır ayna.

Yalnız hep uyanır ikinci uykusuna.

Yalnız kendi ben’inin sen’idir.

Bir sözde saklanmış bir yalanı bir gözde okuduğundan
bakmaz kendi gözlerine bile.

Her susadığında o kendi çölündedir.

Kendi öyküsünü ne anlatabilen ne de dinleyebilen.
Kendi türküsünü ne yazabilen ne söyleyebilen.

Bir zamanlar güldüğünü anımsar da…
Yoğurur hüzün’ün çamurunu avuçlarında.

Yalnız aranan tek görgü tanığıdır
yargılanmasında kendi davasının..
Her duruşması ertelenir kavgasının.

Yalnız hem kaptanı hem de tek
yolcusudur batmakta olan gemisinin..
Onun için ne sonuncu ayrılabilir gemisinden ne de ilkin.

Yalnız’ın adı okunduğunda okulda ya da yaşamda..
Kimse “burda” deyemez.. Ama yok da..

Uykunun duvarında başladı..
Önceleri bir toz gölgesi sanki; sonra bir yumak yün gibi.
Ama şimdi iyice görüyor örümceğin ağını gün gibi.

Yalnız duymuş olduğunun sağırı görmüş olduğunun körüdür..
Ölür ölür öldürür.. Öldürür öldürür ölür.
Duyduklarını unutur duyacaklarını düşünür.

Yalnız’ın adına hiç kimse konuşamaz..
O kendi kendisinin sanığıdır.

Yalnız önceden sezer sonra olacakları..
Paylaşacak biri vardır; anlatır anlatır ona olanları olmayacakları.

Her leke kendisiyle çıkar.

You can sweep everything; but not the autumn

lonely*, however, sweeps the fall all the time…

You cannot imagine.

 

The freezing looks of lonely, inside its burning stove.

A dim light shivers toward the darkness in its lamp.

Its window is shut to the outside; its door, closed to its inside.

 

In an instant, lonely lives itself a thousand years.

Whatever lonely owns, they all amount to all at once.

Lonely is an army in its own desert…

Always defeats its own army in eternal wars.

There is something lonely hides incessantly;

It changes its location, quests for it incessantly…For someone to find it.

 

Lonely is both the wise and the mad of its own world.

Moreover; the master and the slave of itself.

Can’t savour any of them in its futile world

 

Lonely constantly listens to an unspoken word.

Keeping its promise is its deception of itself…

Its disgrace always tells it off.  It therefore avoids its eyes from its own.

 

In lonely’s room, the mirror is a second loneliness.

 

Lonely always wakes up to its second sleep.

Lonely is the you of its own I.

For it once read a lie in an eye hiding in a word

it won’t even look in to its own eyes.

When it thirsts, it is in its own desert.

Can neither tell its own story nor can it listen to it.

Can neither write its own song nor can it sing it.

 

Though it will remember its once upon a smile…

It will knead the sorrow’s mire in its palms.

Lonely is the only witness searched for

in the trial of its own case…

Each hearing of its quarrel, postponed.

 

Lonely is the captain as well the sole

passenger of its own sinking ship…

It thus can neither leave it last or first.


When its name is called in school or in life…

No one can say “here”…But neither “away”…

It began on the verge of sleep…

As if a dust shadow, first; then, a ball of yarn.

But now, it clearly sees the spider web as clearly as day.

Lonely is deaf to what it had heard; blind to what it had seen…

It dies and dies then kills…it kills and kills then dies.

Forgets what it hears; thinks of what it will hear.

No one can speak on lonely’s behalf…

It is its own accused.

 

Lonely foresees what is yet to happen…

It has someone to share it with; tells and tells all that happened all that won’t take place.

Every defect removes itself with itself.

 (My translation as of 10.29.2013. *Özdemir Asaf transforms the adjective “lonely” in to a noun in Turkish.  I have honored the grammatical freedom he takes in this poem.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I hope you enjoyed this autumn Wednesday with me during my virtual visit to an artist and a writer of Turkey.  I very much look forward to another November Wednesday but first, to Sunday when we will meet here again.  May you have a wonderful of everything in the meantime.

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