Sand by Gülten Akın

I had a lover
Who sent sand from the city where he lived
And yet it was the wind there I always wondered about
Was it tame wild incessant?
Did it suddenly appear hurling in the sky
What it took from the ground?

Later there were cities we shared
The wind a master but me untrained
It blew, raging, came and went
Sand filled my eyes

translated by George Messo

Photograph by Cemal Süreya

Three persons at the bus stop
Man woman and child

His hands in his pockets
She holds the child’s hand

He is sad
As sad as sad songs

She is beautiful
As beautiful as beautiful memories

The child
As sad as beautiful memories
As beautiful as sad songs

translated by Omer Kursat

The Smile of Love by Leyla Şahin

so here I am, coming to you
find for me a place on wings of soft winds
let water’s sparkling sounds flow beside us,
let laurels entwine our flanks . . .
let me wake on mornings in the softness of your iron arms
as a seed grows in the eyes of an olive tree
let me be yours

let the scent of the gum tree infuse our hair
let our living body walk towards birds
and find forgotten songs . . .
your smile is the branches of a flowering almond tree
let it snatch death from our hands.

I brought a ship to your door: let’s go together.
you were made for women of sensitive, long nights,
for long mornings
for fields of wheat, placid deer, for open roads . . .
drop me on your chest: let me listen to songs of the world
if we’re late, the quiet river of love will leave us—sulking—
and never come back again.

translated by George Messo

In Love with the Wind by Leyla Şahin

alone, and alone before too
from his eyes a carnation clings on to the world
in the middle of that world he was alone.

his kite never once reached the clouds
in the middle of that world he was alone.

the sun never once warmed his heart
in all the winters there were he was alone.

he lived a timid, fearful life
alone, alone among voices.

in his vision and his pose he was alone
in his memories alone, he had no songs:
in the evening he was most alone . . .

translated by George Messo

Broken Windows by Leyla Şahin

we’re hopeful migrants
we pitch our tents in the open
now open your arms
a bird multiples in air

we’re a raised voice
we rise with our eyelashes wet
put your arms around me
it’s love that rears the day

our eyes and brows cast down
walk now through roses, sweat
(windows broken
you can’t take me away from sorrow
it’s only for you that I cry)

a bird multiples in air
my eyes overrun my eyes
I’d have been as mute as stone, but for you

translated by George Messo

I Conquer the Universe with Words by Nizar Kabbani

I conquer the universe with words.
I ravish the mother tongue,
The syntax, the grammar,
The verbs, and the nouns,
I violate the virginity of things
And form another language
That conceals the secret of fire
And the secret of water.
I illuminate the coming age
And stop the time in your eyes,
Erasing the line that separates
This moment from the years.

translated by Bassam K. Frangieh & Clementina R. Brown