Drizzle by Cemal Süreya

The stars were on the sidewalk
As if at the Prophet’s coming
Because it had drizzled the night before
Dizzy like a cloud, I left her house
Skipping, skipping on the stars
Pleased as punch in the moonlight
Playing hopscotch
As at the Prophet’s coming
Because it had drizzled the night before.

translated by Murat Nemet-Nejat

Cat Was Its Name by Özdemir Asaf

gave it a name
They called–it was deaf, it did not hear

The murmuring of a cat
Is both its thinking
Its hearing

I’m writing
Which is
My murmuring

One who hears
Wouldn’t write this
Wake up
It was a cat who wrote this.

translated by Ayşe Banu Karadağ

Surpassing Her Stature by Hidayet Karakuş

with her slender heels as soft as can be
weary of the calloused caresses she knows
her mane shying at the prodding of the stirrups
one woman
shall break the bit that hampers her within
and canter off to a new mountain lea

lips pursed by the drawstrings of longing sealed inside them
in her sleep she surpasses her stature and rein
though she seems often by quandary enchained
returning to that same page of her book
to read it painfully over and over again

translated by Suat Karantay

Written While Living at Dinghui Temple in Huangzhou, to the Tune of “Divination Song” by Su Tung-p’o

A broken moon hangs from a gaunt parasol tree.
The water clock has stopped, and people hush into sleep.
Who sees a hermit like me passing alone
like a shadow of a flying wild goose?

Startled and soaring off, I look back
with grief no one understands,
going from branch to branch, unwilling to settle,
and landing at last on a cold and desolate shoal.

translated by Tony Barnstone & Chou Ping

Mid-Autumn Moon by Su Tung-p’o

Six years the moon shone at mid-autumn;
five years it saw us parted.
I sing your farewell song;
sobs from those who sit with me.
The southern capital must be busy,
but you won’t let the occasion pass:
Hundred-league lake of melted silver,
thousand-foot towers in the pendant mirror–
at third watch, when the songs and flutes are stilled
and figures blur in the shade of trees,
you return to your north hall rooms,
cold light glinting on the dew of leaves;
calling for wine, you drink with your wife
and tell the children stories, thinking of me.
You have no way of knowing I’ve been sick,
that I face the pears and chestnuts, cup empty,
and stare east of the old riverbed
where buckwheat blossoms spread their snow.
I wanted to write a verse to your last year’s song
but I was afraid my heart would break.

translated by Burton Watson

on justice: for Ali

you ask
where is it
as if it were
in hiding
in some corner
under the bed
around the block
behind that tree
you look confused
in your pain
you who believe
in a moral code
find it lacking
in others
not in another life
you say
but here now
let there be
to whom though
can you plea
when the world
the heavens
don’t hear
and justice
is not blind
just nonexistent
a foreign concept
in an alien land