Hi All, I know many of you like the Turkish poetry I post in translation but here’s a young woman who has been translating Turkish poetry for a few years now and has translated many poets who are not available anywhere else in English. Please read her work and enjoy.

FORGOTTEN HOPES

-Perişan Sofra-

Öldü; ne rüzgârlar girdi içeri,
Ne bir kuş havalandı pencereden.
Öldü; kimse görmedi melekleri;
Sorma nasıl habersiz gitti giden.

Bir uzun sefere çıktı, diyorlar;
Gemiyi gören var mı? hani deniz?
Sen gittin, soframız oldu târumar;
Doğan günü yadırgıyor hâlimiz.

-Cahit Sıtkı Tarancı…

Translation: 

-A Miserable Dining Table-
She died; neither the winds entered inside,
Nor did the birds fly away from the window.
She died; no one saw the angels;
Don’t ask how silently she was gone.
They say she set forth on a long journey;
Has anyone seen the ship? Where is the sea?
You are gone, leaving our dining table miserable;
Our mind can’t accept the newly-born day.

Translated by R. U.

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on Turkey & children

On this day, National Sovereignty & Children’s Day in Turkey, as I sit listening to CSNY Teach Your Children, I think about this country I now live in and the way children are honored here. My mind has many pictures stored away of examples of that. On the metro, for instance, returning Sunday from the airport, I watched as complete strangers showered attention on one child after another, the smiles, the rubbing of hair, the laughter and delight and even participation into the world of a child that united all these people from station to station on the long ride back to Aliağa. It filled me with so many mixed emotions at their communal love and of my own solitary existence. And there I was, reminded in practice by those people on the train, what this holiday is all about.

I remember a time in America growing up when there was an innocence in children’s eyes, when the world was not a hostile, fearful place with potential predators lurking around any corner, behind trees, slipping razor blades into apples on Halloween, poisoning over the counter drugs at pharmacies, luring children to basements and isolated houses to perform their dark, tormented fantasies. So much of what is written now in the US is about abuse in all its forms: sexual, substance, bullying in schoolyards, harassment in the workplace, in schools, racial and ethnic prejudice, diseased minds working their damage on women, the elderly, people of color, and children, especially children, the most vulnerable of all society.

That is not to say this society is perfect, nor is any society perfect for that matter, but there is a difference here in regards to children that I see on a daily basis. Parents who devote so much attention toward their children which is often neglected by their American counterparts who favor TV as a babysitter and substitute parent too often. And it’s not just parents, but people in general, at parks, cafes, on the street, playgrounds, where adults of all ages and varying circumstances are attentive toward children, and not just Turkish children, but this generosity of spirit extends to the many Syrian children of refugees here, and other foreign nationalities. It is a joy to behold and now, on this holiday, I, too, will venture out on this chilly but sunny day to the park in town, to the seaside, and watch as children are once again the center of attention in this, my Turkish life.