Pale Blue by Aslı Durak

Hold my hand
Not to carry me far away . . . no
My roots and branches
Will strain for distant clouds

Maybe my eyes
Are in that same pavilion of loneliness now
Let my face again be the statue of sadness

When you beautify me
Maybe
I’m a pale blue woman now

translated by George Messo

Wind by Ayten Mutlu

woman smaller than a grain of sand
the sea smaller stili than a woman’s pain

it came and went that ancient wind
ignoring the sea and the Milky Way

and the woman walked with her naked memories
never stepping on the sand or the stars

translated by George Messo

Two Hearts by Cemal Süreya

The shortest path between two hearts:
Two arms
That reach out and every so often
Can only touch with fingertips.

I run to where the stairs are,
Waiting is time’s show of strength;
I cannot find you I’ve arrived too early
It’s as if a rehearsal is taking place.

Birds have flocked together migrating
I wish I loved you only for this.

translated by Omer Kursat

At The Afyon Train Station by Cemal Süreya

Remember the little girl at the Afyon train station, you know,
She had removed her shoes as she boarded the train;
Recall the Varto earthquake,
The carton of powdered milk and the bra
Sent as aid from the West.

The man had whitewashed his walls with the milk powder,
His wife had kept the bra, not knowing what it was
She was going to use them as earmuffs in winter;
My God, were these really your childhood days?

Crowds sitting outside on doorsteps
I wish I loved you only for this.

translated by Omer Kursat

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.

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