Birds And Clouds by Melih Cevdet Anday

I found it in the cellar of a caravanserai
Under a copper lamp,
An ancient handwritten manuscript of the Isagoge,
Perhaps dating from the Seljuk Empire,
Wine stains on every page.
I don’t know whether it was the author or a reader,
But right at the end, in a secret place,
He added these frightentng words:
The sky is our brain’s membrane,
Birds and clouds wander around in it.

The Law-Court by Oktay Rıfat

For their stony fields and pastures
They are crammed into the law-court
Crumbs of bread and tobacco in their pockets
In their wallets lists of witnesses
Thumbprint signatures proof of transactions
Their women and donkeys
Wait in the market-place
The courtroom is dingy it stinks of dung
But on the judge’s robe
The ribbons shine with propriety

translated by Ruth Christie & Richard McKane

untitled poem by Ahmet Haşim

A river of fire
between your soul and mine
mine unburdened itself
of this love’s impossible wound

As this glitter reflected on her
I ran away from that look, that lip
I looked at her silently, from far,
as this river reflected on her . . .

translated by Murat Nemet-Nejat

Remembering Ahmet Haşım by Oktay Rıfat

The sun in mist;
A wild duck fallen from a cloud
Maybe a young great-crested grebe,
On its back a fine blood streak, perhaps
The color of water, perhaps of loneliness,
Head drooping, wet, it floats. A few feathers
Left in the silence, something like evening.
Shore and sky, twinned one under the other.
It struck water, turbid, unclear,
The rickety quay, remnants here and there,
Lake-birds hanging their heads in thought.

translated by Ruth Christie & Richard McKane