Abraham by Asaf Halet Çelebi

Topple the idols inside me
With the ax you hold
Who is the one
replacing the broken idols with new ones?

The sun shattered my icehouse
Those mighty blocks have fallen
Necks of idols are broken
Who is the one
putting the sun in my house?

Nebuchadnezzar made the idols
of the beauties wandering in the hanging gardens
I am the one cuddles those timeless gardens
Beauties stayed with me
Who is the one
breaking my head
seeing it as an idol?

translated by  Burak Tıraş

Nothing is as it used to be by Cahit Sıtkı Tarancı

Nothing is as it used to be,
Neither am I.
I don’t care about myself for a long time,
Nor my appearance.
I walk barefoot now.
Neither flu nor cold scares me as they used to.
I have bigger problems, like everyone else, which mint and lemon are no good for.
I don’t mind the swollen tonsils relapsing every winter and spring,
I don’t eat or drink too hot or too cold, they all go by in a few days anyway.
Things go on.
Things go by.
Yet there are things that I swallow despite the pain they inflict.
Things which do not go on
Things which do not go by
I have trouble sleeping at times, but,
I don’t care about this sleeping thing anymore,
Since I’ve realized, there are things which do not disappear with sleeping anymore.

translated by Burak Tıraş

Pebble by Bedri Rahmi Eyüpoğlu

When I think of you
A pebble warms in me
A bird settles on the edge of my heart
A poppy flourishes suddenly
A poppy bleeds insidiously
When I think of you
A plum tree dresses up from top to bottom
Starts to spin hysterically
As it spins, it dissolves bit by bit
As it dissolves, it dwindles
Becomes a deep blue plum in my mouth
Its seed has just sprouted
My lips burn when I touch
When I think of you
A pebble warms in me

translated by Burak Tıraş

The Daily Rose by Ceyhun Atuf Kansu

Unless they carry the news of spring days
All the newspapers had better be closed
And unless the type metal smells of rose
All the papers ought to come out blank.

He who knows not the rose should not govern;
No one should talk of social order and what not
If the people forsake the time of the rose
And abandon the sagging acacia to rot.

They are the only true friends of the seasons:
From heavenly gardens a grade-school girl descends
Holding the loveliest of orders in her hands
A red rose and a white rose.

Living is the oldest of all constitutions:
Blood is a rose, joy is a rose, love is a rose,
And bread is a rose awakened at daybreak;
So the headlines of daily papers should read:
Beam like a rose, laugh like a rose, be a rose.

translated by Talat S. Halman

Unsaid Love by Behçet Necatigil

You used to have a friend
About five years ago
I saw her yesterday
In the street. She was pleased.

Just there standing up
We said a few words.
She was married,
A girl and a boy.

She asked about you.
“He hasn’t changed a bit,”
I said. “As you knew him.”
She understood.

She was happy. Loved her husband.
They owned their house now.
Like a criminal, guilty,
She sent you her regards.

translatede by Murat Nemet-Nejat

? by Orhan Veli Kanık

Why when I say harbour
Do cranes come to mind
And sails when I say open sea?

Cats when I say March
Workers when  I say rights
And why does the old miller
Blindly believe in God?

And why does rain fall slanted
In windy weather?

translated by George Messo

To Live by Orhan Veli Kanık


I know, it’s not easy to live,
To fall in love and sing to the one you love,
To stroll in starlight at night,
To warm yourself by the light of day,
To find time like this to meet
On Çamlıca Hill for half a day
–A thousand blues flowing from the Bosphorus–
To forget everything in these leagues of blue.


I know, it isn’t easy to live,
But there
A dead man’s bed is still warm,
Someone’s watch still ticks on his wrist.
Living isn’t easy, brothers,
But neither is dying.

It isn’t easy to leave this world.

translated by George Messo

That’s life by Orhan Veli Kanık

This house had a dog, curly
Called Dingdong–who curled up and died.
There was a cat too: Bluey,
She disappeared.
The daughter got married,
The son finished school.
All these bittersweet things
Happened in a year!
They all just happened like that . . .
That’s life.

translated by George Messo