“İstanbul’u Dinliyorum” ~ “I Am Listening to İstanbul”

Is there a place that has once landed in the depth of your being? Do your feelings and thoughts take you there once in a while or often? Lately, it has happened to me. Again. With the yearning having risen from casual conversations with close friends. Of all the possible regions that had long ago taken a piece of my heart, it was the city many find to be impossible to describe. In my case, there is no interest whatsoever to make even an attempt to say anything about this phenomenon other than having a well-known poem speak it all.

Like the poet I am respectfully bowing before, I, too, am listening to İstanbul today but to İstanbul of my heavily aged memories. And I do so in the hope that this world city will reconnect me to my mother’s grave – long lost in its physicality…

The Turkish original by Orhan Veli Kanık

İSTANBUL’U DİNLİYORUM

İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı
Önce hafiften bir rüzgar esiyor;
Yavaş yavaş sallanıyor
Yapraklar, ağaçlarda;
Uzaklarda, çok uzaklarda,
Sucuların hiç durmayan çıngırakları
İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı.

İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı;
Kuşlar geçiyor, derken;
Yükseklerden, sürü sürü, çığlık çığlık.
Ağlar çekiliyor dalyanlarda;
Bir kadının suya değiyor ayakları;
İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı.

İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı;
Serin serin Kapalıçarşı
Cıvıl cıvıl Mahmutpaşa
Güvercin dolu avlular
Çekiç sesleri geliyor doklardan
Güzelim bahar rüzgarında ter kokuları;
İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı.

İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı;
Başımda eski alemlerin sarhoşluğu
Loş kayıkhaneleriyle bir yalı;
Dinmiş lodosların uğultusu içinde
İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı.

İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı;
Bir yosma geçiyor kaldırımdan;
Küfürler, şarkılar, türküler, laf atmalar.
Birşey düşüyor elinden yere;
Bir gül olmalı;
İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı.

İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı;
Bir kuş çırpınıyor eteklerinde;
Alnın sıcak mı, değil mi, biliyorum;
Dudakların ıslak mı, değil mi, biliyorum;
Beyaz bir ay doğuyor fıstıkların arkasından
Kalbinin vuruşundan anlıyorum;
İstanbul’u dinliyorum.

Own English Translation, December 20, 2014 (unedited, unrevised)

I AM LISTENING TO İSTANBUL

I am listening to İstanbul with my eyes closed

In a gentle touch, first a wind breezes;

Leaves sway on trees

Without a hurry;

Far, very far away,

There are the never-stopping bells of the water-carriers

I am listening to İstanbul with my eyes closed.

~ ~ ~

I am listening to İstanbul with my eyes closed;

Birds are passing by, then;

From high above, in flocks, in screams.

The nets are being pulled in the kiddles;

A woman’s feet touch the water;

I am listening to İstanbul with my eyes closed.

~ ~ ~

I am listening to İstanbul with my eyes closed;

It is crisp inside the Covered Bazaar

Mahmutpaşa, so very chirpy

Its courtyard is filled with pigeons

The beats of hammers are rising from the docks

In the glorious spring wind, the smell of sweat;

I am listening to İstanbul with my eyes closed.

~ ~ ~

I am listening to İstanbul with my eyes closed;

I am intoxicated by the celebrations of the past

A waterside mansion with its dimmed boathouses;

Within the murmur of the died out southwesters

I am listening to İstanbul with my eyes closed.

~ ~ ~

I am listening to İstanbul with my eyes closed;

A coquette passes by the sidewalk;

Profanity, chants, songs, wolf whistles.

Something falls off of her hand;

It must be a rose:

I am listening to İstanbul with my eyes closed.

~ ~ ~

I am listening to İstanbul with my eyes closed;

A bird is fluttering on her skirts;

I know if you have fever or not;

I know if your lips are wet;

A white moon rises behind the pistachio nuts

I know it from the beat of your heart;

I am listening to İstanbul.

1 Comment

Filed under Reflections

One response to ““İstanbul’u Dinliyorum” ~ “I Am Listening to İstanbul”

  1. Beautiful video, beautiful words.

    Like

Your readership is appreciated.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s