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 Sun Swing by Melih Cevdat Anday

The sun swing swings back and forth
While I arrange the clouds in my window.
Everything’s in the same place, stone of nothingness,
Zenith of the timeless sea, buried
Earth and a wind that goes nowhere.

As if time said it is because of the sun swing
Swinging back and forth.

translated by Sidney Wade & Efe Murad

Silent Stones by Melih Cevdet Anday

Evening is your village where we arrive on mules,
I see your salt, your flour, your cattle,
Your heart darkened in its crackling seeds
Like a writhing caterpillar.
Dreams come heavily to us like life,
Gathering your visions piece by piece.
You extract the provisions of your beauty one by one
And spread your skirts out at your side
Like a flight of birds dragging on the ground.

I see old pictures in your eyes,
Your rain, your sea in the brimming dawn.
I see masts in the dark and in the sea,
Your protected old forests and glaciers.
I’ve had enough, leave me the courtesy
That your gaze has filled like a river.
Now I’ll line your silent stones
Up to the summits of your breath-taking knees.

translated by Sidney Wade & Efe Murad

Remembrance by Melih Cevdet Anday

Should a pair of doves take wing
Should a smoldering scent in the pinks be perceptible
It isn’t–is it–something all that memorable
It just suddenly comes to my mind

The day must have been just about to begin
You, like the others, about to arise
You may still well have been sleepless
That night of yours comes to my mind

Like the names of the flowers I love
Like the names of the streets that I love
Just like the names of all those whom I love
Your names come into my mind

So the comfortable bed shames itself perhaps
So a passionate kiss finds my thoughts in a lapse
As the touch of those fingers of yours through the gaps
In that metal grating comes to my mind

How many loves and friendships I have seen
Heroic deeds abounding in the tales of history
What’s most attune to the present though, is the dignity
Of your composure that always strikes my mind

Should a pair of doves take wing
Should a smoldering scent in the pinks be perceptible
It isn’t–is it–something that’s forgettable
Of itself it comes into my mind

translated by Jean Carpenter Efe

The Station by Melih Cevdet Anday

An unknown evening hour
Of a station with an age-old platform, sadness
By my side, I knew no direction.

I had left you up there, in the sky
Dark were the trees and the road
Dark were your white clothes.

The night, that treasure, foreign stone
Your window was above the trees
No voice or iron can save me now.

Here I am in the hours
The hours are nowhere, no
Not in this direction, not in that.

I had left you up there, in the sky.

translated by Şehnaz Tahir-Gürçağlar

Half The Joy by Melih Cevdet Anday

Remember when birds made rain
And rain hit the sun
I came to you

Half the joy in my mouth
Mornings grew to lilies
Plains rode horses

When the sea streamed to its tower
In my pockets stars from the night before
With bees and honey in my blood

My heart turned into a palm, remember
Then it was a fountain too
In the month of sad returns

I came to you.

translated by Şehnaz Tahir-Gürçağlar