hearing my name

eyes open close
the world the same
and yet here
in a land
where my name
is not spoken
there it is
once more
like an old friend
come home
the journey over
the gate closed
the door opened
home briefly
again

Rose by Cemal Süreya

I cry in the middle of the rose
Every night when I die in the middle of the street
I do not know my front or back
When I sense your eyes diminish in the dark
The eyes that keep me standing

I hold your hands, caress them till dawn
Your hands are white, white again and again
I am scared of your hands being this white
They are briefly a train at the station
I am a man who sometimes cannot find the station

I pick up the rose, brush it against my face
Had fallen on the street somehow
I break my arms, my wings
There is blood, a ruckus and music
And a new gypsy playing the horn

translated by Omer Kursat

If I Come By Now by Turgut Uyar

if I come by now, you’ve bathed
combed your hair.
droplets on your forehead,
a lightness in your face.
like the stars after a mist
your fingers have turned pink
you’re sprawled on the bed . . .

I wrote this as a love song, my bride
rain is now falling on the roads, on the leaves.
if I come by you are home,
together with all the warmth.
your bosom covered
your lips apart.
if you would breathe upon and warm my hands.

. . . .

but where are you now. . .

translated by Omer Kursat

The Pa River by Po Chü-i

Below the city, where the Pa River’s water flows,
spring comes like yeast-powder spiriting wine:

beaches feel soft as the Wei’s meandering shores,
and cliffs bring memories of T’ien-chin Bridge,

but fresh yellow willows dip their shadows here,
and tiny white duckweed blossoms scent the air.

Sitting beside swelling water, I scratch my head:
all this grief and sorrow, and whose is it anyway?

translated by David Hinton

Baby’s First Bath by Su Dongpo

Parents raising children
hope they will become
intelligent and wise

but all my life
I’ve been the victim
of my own cleverness

all I want for my kids
is that they be
ignorant and stupid

so they can grow into
high-ranking nobles
free from misfortunes and suffering.

translated by Jiann I. Lin & David Young