Her and Me by Sait Faik Abasiyanik

I am running towards you in a boat

to not to die, not to go insane…
to live life; to live far away from all the expectations
to live…
It is not warm the memory of her lips; no, it is not;
Not the scent of her hair
None of that.
In days like these, when the world is trembling with tempests
I cannot do without her.
Her hand has to be in mine,
I have to look at her eyes,
Have to hear her voice.
We have to eat together
And sometimes laugh.
I do not do, I cannot do without her.
You my ugly girl,
You my bread, my poison;
My flavor, my sleep.
I cannot do without you!

by Sait Faik Abasıyanık
(1953)

Sait Faik is a nationally well-known Turkish writer, who is primarily praised for his beautiful short stories. He has written only a few poems, among which the one above belongs to. Just like the other poems he wrote, it is so simple, yet it gets me, probably because of its simplicity. The emotions that come across the simple beauty of the Turkish language he uses.

My grandma proudly used to explain: ‘Sait Faik, he was our neighbor…he lived just in this next door house together with his parents. He was young back then. Young. Full of life…’.
He died of cirrhosis.
He wasn’t yet fifty.
Below is the original version in Turkish.

O ve Ben

Sana koşuyorum bir vapurun içinde
Ölmemek, delirmemek için…
Yaşamak; bütün adetlerden uzak
Yaşamak…
Hayır değil, değil sıcak;
Dudaklarının hatırası;
Saçlarının kokusu
Hiçbiri değil.
Dünyada büyük fırtınanın koptuğu böyle günlerde
Ben onsuz edemem.
Eli elimin içinde olmalı,
Gözlerine bakmalıyım,
Sesini işitmeliyim.
Beraber yemek yemeliyiz
Ara sıra gülmeliyiz.
Yapamam, onsuz edemem.
Bana su, bana ekmek, bana zehir;
Bana tat, bana uyku
Gibi gelen çirkin kızım.
Sensiz edemem!

Ziehende Landschaft by Hilde Domin

Man muß weggehen können
und doch sein wie ein Baum:
als bliebe die Wurzel im Boden,
als zöge die Landschaft und wir ständen fest.
Man muss den Atem anhalten,
bis der Wind nachläßt
und die fremde Luft um uns zu kreisen beginnt,
bis das Spiel von Licht und Schatten,
von Grün und Blau,
die alten Muster zeigt
wo es auch sei,
und niedersitzen können und uns anlehnen,
als sei es an das Grab
unserer Mutter.Hilde DominI left. I leave. And leave again.BAU MIR EIN HAUS

Laß uns landeinwärts gehen,
wo die kleinen Kräuter die Erde verankern.
Ich will einen festen Boden,
grün, aus Wurzeln geknotet
wie eine Matte.
Zersäge den Baum,
nimm Steine
und bau mir ein Haus.

Hilde Domin

Without having noticed that all I wanted was to stay.
To be able to stay.

Living Is Not a Laughing Matter by Nazim Hikmet

Nazim Hikmet is one my most favorite Turkish poets (the other is Orhan Veli).
I can write so much about him. But I don’t want to.
I want his poem to fill in all the space. So few lines with so much content…

Living is not a laughing matter

you must live with great seriousness
like a squirrel, for example-
I mean without looking for something beyond and above living,
I mean living must be your whole occupation.

 

Yasamak şakaya gelmez

büyük bir ciddiyetle yasayacaksin
bir sincap gibi mesela,
yani, yasamanin disinda ve otesinde hicbir sey beklemeden,
yani butun isin gucun yasamak olacak.

Nazim Hikmet

I try to be that squirrel. Moments are my occupation. I hope, and try to fill them with beauty; and meaning.  And if it works, I then try to hold on to those moments, even when they are passed. And smile. Seriously.