Tag Archives: Nazım Hikmet

“You will find poetry nowhere […]

unless you bring some of it with you.” ~ Joseph Joubert (1754-1824)

joseph-joubert-4

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[Image Credits: Google – Free ]

Heeding the suggested transportation of a precious cargo today, I bring along a poem that is one of my most favorites by Nazım Hikmet, a poet whose entire literary work I have been admiring since my teenage years. The translation to English is my attempt at a rather intimately-felt justice to this exilic author’s native tongue:

Seni düşünmek güzel şey, ümitli şey,
Dünyanın en güzel sesinden
En güzel şarkıyı dinlemek gibi birşey…
Fakat artık ümit yetmiyor bana,
Ben artık şarkı dinlemek değil,
Şarkı söylemek istiyorum.

Thinking of you is beautiful, it gives hope,

It is like listening to the most beautiful song

Through the most beautiful voice in the world…

Hope to me, however, does no longer suffice,

I don’t want to listen to songs anymore,

I want to sing one.

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…”On Living”, a poem by Nazım Hikmet as accompanied by Genco Erkal, Fazıl Say and Zühal Olcay…in my own English translation

 yaşamak şakaya gelmez,
büyük bir ciddiyetle yaşayacaksın
bir sincap gibi mesela,
yani, yaşamanın dışında ve ötesinde hiçbir şey beklemeden,
yani bütün işin gücün yaşamak olacak.

yaşamayı ciddiye alacaksın,
yani o derecede, öylesine ki,
mesela, kolların bağlı arkadan, sırtın duvarda,
yahut kocaman gözlüklerin,
beyaz gömleğinle bir laboratuvarda
insanlar için ölebileceksin,
hem de yüzünü bile görmediğin insanlar için,
hem de hiç kimse seni buna zorlamamışken,
hem de en güzel en gerçek şeyin
yaşamak olduğunu bildiğin halde.

yani, öylesine ciddiye alacaksın ki yaşamayı,
yetmişinde bile, mesela, zeytin dikeceksin,
hem de öyle çocuklara falan kalır diye değil,
ölmekten korktuğun halde ölüme inanmadığın için,
yaşamak yanı ağır bastığından.

diyelim ki, ağır ameliyatlık hastayız,
yani, beyaz masadan,
bir daha kalkmamak ihtimali de var.
duymamak mümkün değilse de biraz erken gitmenin kederini
biz yine de güleceğiz anlatılan bektaşi fıkrasına,
hava yağmurlu mu, diye bakacağız pencereden,
yahut da sabırsızlıkla bekleyeceğiz
en son ajans haberlerini.

diyelim ki, dövüşülmeye değer bir şeyler için,
diyelim ki, cephedeyiz.
daha orda ilk hücumda, daha o gün
yüzükoyun kapaklanıp ölmek de mümkün.
tuhaf bir hınçla bileceğiz bunu,
fakat yine de çıldırasıya merak edeceğiz
belki yıllarca sürecek olan savaşın sonunu.

diyelim ki hapisteyiz,
yaşımız da elliye yakın,
daha da on sekiz sene olsun açılmasına demir kapının.
yine de dışarıyla birlikte yaşayacağız,
insanları, hayvanları, kavgası ve rüzgarıyla
yani, duvarın ardındaki dışarıyla.

yani, nasıl ve nerede olursak olalım
hiç ölünmeyecekmiş gibi yaşanacak…

bu dünya soğuyacak,
yıldızların arasında bir yıldız,
hem de en ufacıklarından,
mavi kadifede bir yaldız zerresi yani,
yani bu koskocaman dünyamız.

bu dünya soğuyacak günün birinde,
hatta bir buz yığını
yahut ölü bir bulut gibi de değil,
boş bir ceviz gibi yuvarlanacak
zifiri karanlıkta uçsuz bucaksız.

şimdiden çekilecek acısı bunun,
duyulacak mahzunluğu şimdiden.
böylesine sevilecek bu dünya
“yaşadım” diyebilmen için…

~ Nazım Hikmet

On Living 

(own unrevised and unedited translation, 11.29.2014)

living shouldn’t be taken lightly,

you must take it very seriously

like a squirrel, for instance,

in other words, without expecting anything else beyond living,

in other words, to live as if it were your job to do so.

you should take living seriously,

 to such extentfor example,

to be able to die for people,

with your arms tied, your back against the wall,

or in a laboratory, with your huge eye glasses in your white coat,

to die for people whose faces you haven’t seen even once,

and even then when no one has forced you to do so,

while knowing that living is the most beautiful the most real thing.

in other words, you should take living so seriously

that you will plant, for example, an olive at the age of seventy,

and not at all for thinking to leave it for the children or the like,

but rather for not believing in death although you fear dying,

because living by far outweighs it.

let’s say, we are sick on the verge of a serious surgery,

in other words, it is possible not to be ever get up

off of the white table.

it will, of course, be impossible not to sorrow over leaving a little soon

we’ll still laugh at the Bektaşi joke told to us,

we’ll still check the weather from the window to see if it had rained,

or shall wait impatiently for the latest broadcasting news.

let’s imagine, we are at the front

for the sake of things worth fighting.

it is possible to die right there and then face down

at the onset of the first attack.

we’ll be aware of this potential with slight anger,

but shall maddeningly wonder the end of the war

one that may last for years.

 let’s say, we are in jail,

on top of it, our age has reached fifty,

and there await eighteen more years for the iron doors to open up.

we’ll still continue to live together with the outside,

along with that beyond the wall,

in other words, its people, its animals, its struggles and its wind.

in other words: no matter how and where we are

there must be living taking place as were there no dying…

this world will be cold,

one star among many others,

the tiniest, at that,

in other words, our whale of a world,

a sparkling particle on the blue velvet.

this world will turn cold someday,

not even like a stack of ice

nor like a dead cloud,

but rather like a sere walnut

it will roll in a vast darkness, on and on.

the pain of it will be lived in the now already,

the sadness will be felt in the present as well.

that’s how this world must be lived

in order to be able to say “I have lived”… 

 

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“Nazım Hikmet’i hatırlıyorum…”/’I am thinking of Nazım Hikmet…’

41_Hikmet_hires-FLAT

Nazım Hikmet (1902-1963)

[Photo Courtesy: Free Online Link]

 

Nazım Hikmet’i hatırlıyorum…

nasıl da iyi tanımış yurdun bazı gerçeklerini

kadınımızdan biteviye esirgenenleri

ister olsun tek bir başına ya da kocasının yanında

olsun varsın bir bebesi, o verici böğrünün öz yuvasında…

 

“ince, küçük çeneleri, kocaman gözleriyle

anamız, avradımız, yarimiz” kadınlar

ama anaya yakışan saygıyı analığında bile alamayan analar

“soframızdaki yeri öküzümüzden sonra gelen”…

 

doğurmasa, erkeğinin göze alamayacağı taze hayatı ona veren

herkes ana oluyorları kendine defalarca dedirten

gene de yüzlerinden tebessüm nadiren eksilen

“aynı yorgun alışkanlık” çemberine mahkum edilen kadınımız…

 

Nazım Hikmet’i hatırlıyorum…

nasıl da iyi tanımış seninle beni,

onu şunu bunu

bizi sizi onları

bilmiş çok öncesinden bugünü geçmişi ve de geleceği

bütün dünya bir coşkuya muhtaç bahane ararken bir kutlamaya

‘avradını, yarini’ analıklarında bile hiçe saymaya

ant içmiş erkeklerimizin tek toplar damarlı aile sofrasına

katmış cömert bir asaletle bu dahi destanına…

 

(Free-translation in Turkish; unrevised/unedited. The distinction between the singular and plural  form of each gender in the version below is intentional: Nazım’s “women” meet here my “woman.”)

I am thinking of Nazım Hikmet…

He knew too well our country of birth

The endless deprivation of our woman from life

Whether solo or adjacent to her husband

Or together with her baby at the core of her selfless chest…

 

Women “with their fine, small chins and large eyes;

Our mother, wife, lover”

But mothers who even in motherhood are robbed of motherly respect

Women “whose places for mealtimes come after our ox”…

The one giving fresh life to her husband – who wouldn’t dare, if she hadn’t…

The one who tolerates the frequented ‘everyone becomes a mother’- shout

Not neglecting a smile from her face nevertheless

The one who gets the sentence of the deadening “same tired“ rut…

 

I am thinking of Nazım Hikmet…

How well he knew you me her us them

The present the past the future of his never forgotten home

So well…

That with his noble saga

He welds our woman to the single-veined family table of our men

Who have sworn to belittle their ‘wives, lovers’ even when they are maternal

While in search of such a joy the entire world seeks an excuse to celebrate …

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If I don’t, if you don’t, if s/he doesn’t…

Nazıms question

What Nazım Hikmet, the world-renowned exilic poet and thinker of Turkey stresses in his call for collective strength in harmony,  is as follows: “If you don’t, I don’t, we don’t blaze, how can the darkness emanate light?”

Nazım’s invitation, to me, is one to awareness – a timeless gift to generations to come.  If they were to be willing to listen to it, of course.  No different than what John Lennon intended with his song, “Imagine”:

The following lyrics – in sync with the rest of the song, seem self-explanatory:

“[…]

Imagine there is no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion, too

Imagine all the people

living life in peace […]”

These remarkable visionary individuals are no longer among us.  We, however, are.  I, for one, have found my niche in the sharing of my awareness for this vital thought processing among the living: love for world peace – one I have been yearning for very long.   It came to me thanks to the World Healing World Peace Poetry Anthology 2014 initiative by Inner Child Press.

Please know I am writing about this marvelous project not at all because I happen to have a submission of my own.  I don’t.  I won’t.  If I had or were to plan to do so, I would have to step back.  Here, I mean.  For I have strict self-imposed rules regarding self-promotion.  And, you all know how I treat my own work contribution – as you have seen my quite subdued announcement of my poems in an anthology by another publisher.

The conceptualization of world peace by the Inner Child Press is simply me finding home.   Through collective poetry creation in order to attract attention across the world, spanning over the boundaries of countries.  What a thought!  In order to lend a long overdue balance against the power of  violence – a trait of our  world that has enjoyed dominance for way too long.  But, that, is a learned trait.  How can it stand – we may respond with a false sense of confidence –  against the strength of love, an inborn asset of each human being?  It can.  It unfortunately can.  And it does.  It has.  It will.  As long as we keep letting it.

Peace in love.

“Poetry is what happens when nothing else can.” – Charles Bukowski  (Source)

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Hani

Nazım copy

Hani derler ya,

Ben sensiz yaşayamam, diye.

Ben onlardan değilim.

Ben sensiz de yaşarım;

Ama,

Seninle bir başka yaşarım…

[Poetry and Image Source: Nazım Hikmet]

 

You know what they say:

“I can’t live without you.”

I am not one of them.

I’ll live also without you;

but

with you,

my life would surely be something else…

[Translation Source: Self]

 

May it be through Turkish, English or any other world language – how do you define “living”? How about “life”?

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The Circle of Life

The Circle of Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Source: Nazım Hikmet

 

[…]

In the circle of life

it’s the wheel of fortune

it’s the leap of faith

it’s the band of hope

‘til we find our place

on the path unwinding

in the circle…, circle of life

 

Some of us fall by the wayside

and some of us soar to the skies

and some of us sail through our troubles

and some have to live with the scars

[…]

Lyrics Source: Elton John,”Circle of Life”

 

 

I can’t be the only one who falls “by the wayside”, who has “to live with the scars”; whose emotional element overpowers reason; for whom the primal void inside – after having achieved its completion – is emptied with brute force again, only, this time, while you are conscious of the pain.  So, I ask: How, then, do you remain in “the band of hope”?

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