As Death Approaches by Orhan Veli Kanik

Toward the coming on of evening, in winter time,
At the window of a sick man’s bedroom–
I’m not the only one to be so alone;
It’s dark on the sea, the sky is dark, too.
Funny, how the birds are behaving tonight!
Don’t mind that I’m poor, that I’m alone in the world;
-Toward the coming on of the evening in winter time-
I too in my time have had my love affairs.
To be famous, to have women, to make money-
In time one gets to know the world as it is.

Is it because we’re to die that we have these regrets?
What were we, what happened to us in this world,
In this mortal old world, except evil?
We shall be rid of our dirt at our death,
With death we’ll get to be good men at last.
Being famous, having women, making money, and all-
We’ll forget all that when we die.

translated by David Garwood

3 thoughts on “As Death Approaches by Orhan Veli Kanik

    • He is a wonderful Turkish poet who unfortunately died very young. There was a book of his poetry in translation called I, Orhan Veli. Murat Nemet-Nejat translated it and it was published by Hanging Loose Press in Brooklyn, NY. I don’t know if it’s still in print but you can google them, I’m sure, to find out. Also that translator has several anthologies of Turkish literature still available on amazon. He’s a poet himself and a very good translator.

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