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

A Rough Pillow by Oktay Rıfat

Where were we? Here were we?—Now it’s impossible to tell.
It was a rough pillow we shared!
It was us or perhaps someone else who was like us,
The fruit of our love, the immortal child.

Soaking wet from the rain of those dreams,
Our coming smeared with sticky blood
Will never go out of my mind,
The gentle pulling out like swimming
In the clear sunny waters of the days,
Turning into ourselves from our mother’s womb,
That first scream, that first blue, that first breath of air.

translated by Ruth Christie & Richard McKane