the words

the words
so faint now
at three am
with a glass
or three
of Jameson
to add to the haze
that is memory
here there
somewhere
a voice fades
in out
and time
that old bandit
robs me
once again
of the words

To Li Po on a Winter Day by Tu Fu

Alone in my secluded hut,
I think of you all day, Li Po.

Whenever I read of friendship,
I remember your friendly poems.

Harsh winds tatter your old clothes
as you search for the wine of endless life.

Unable to go with you, I remember only
that old hermitage we’d hoped to make a home.

translated by Sam Hamill

the questions

there is a world
out there
beyond the window screen
and as he feels
the breeze brush his face
on this mild winter day
he wonders
what would life be like
outside the safety
of this house
and the cat
looks back
at me
as if I had
all the answers
to all the questions
in both of our heads

The Daily Rose by Ceyhun Atuf Kansu

Unless they carry the news of spring days
All the newspapers had better be closed
And unless the type metal smells of rose
All the papers ought to come out blank.

He who knows not the rose should not govern;
No one should talk of social order and what not
If the people forsake the time of the rose
And abandon the sagging acacia to rot.

They are the only true friends of the seasons:
From heavenly gardens a grade-school girl descends
Holding the loveliest of orders in her hands
A red rose and a white rose.

Living is the oldest of all constitutions:
Blood is a rose, joy is a rose, love is a rose,
And bread is a rose awakened at daybreak;
So the headlines of daily papers should read:
Beam like a rose, laugh like a rose, be a rose.

translated by Talat S. Halman

Unsaid Love by Behçet Necatigil

You used to have a friend
About five years ago
I saw her yesterday
In the street. She was pleased.

Just there standing up
We said a few words.
She was married,
A girl and a boy.

She asked about you.
“He hasn’t changed a bit,”
I said. “As you knew him.”
She understood.

She was happy. Loved her husband.
They owned their house now.
Like a criminal, guilty,
She sent you her regards.

translatede by Murat Nemet-Nejat