the question hanging in the air

I read the question
hanging in the air
thousands of miles
thousands of years
between us
what answer to give
as if there is only one
to soothe a heart
if a heart can be given rest
in a world in constant motion
there aren’t always answers
that one would like
to hear
or that one
can honestly say

untitled poem by Nazım Hikmet

All the things I’ve written about us are untrue
they’re not what happened between us but what I wanted to see happen
those were my longings hanging from your unreachable branches
and my thirst pulled out of the well of my dreams
they were pictures I drew on beams of light.

Not all of what I wrote about us is true
Your beauty
that is to say a fruit basket or a picnic in the meadow
my being without you
that is my being the last streetlamp at the last corner of the city
the way I’m jealous of you
which means my running blindfolded among trains at night
my happiness
so to say the sun-drenched river which breaks its banks and overflows.
Whatever I’ve written about us is all lies
whatever I’ve written about us is all true.

translated by Talat S. Halman

At A Window by Carl Sandburg

Give me hunger,
O you gods that sit and give
The world its orders.
Give me hunger, pain and want,
Shut me out with shame and failure
From your doors of gold and fame,
Give me your shabbiest, weariest hunger!

But leave me a little love,
A voice to speak to me in the day end,
A hand to touch me in the dark room
Breaking the long loneliness.
In the dusk of day-shapes
Blurring the sunset,
One little wandering, western star
Thrust out from the changing shores of shadow.
Let me go to the window,
Watch there the day-shapes of dusk
And wait and know the coming
Of a little love.