Monday, June 18, 2007

Istanbul'u Dinliyorum

I AM LISTENING TO ISTANBUL
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed;
At first there blows a gentle breeze
And the leaves on the trees
Softly flutter or sway;
Out there, far away,
The bells of water carriers incessantly ring;
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed;
Then suddenly birds fly by,
Flocks of birds, high up, in a hue and cry
While nets are drawn in the fishing grounds
And a woman's feet begin to dabble in the water.
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.
The Grand Bazaar is serene and cool,
A hubbub at the hub of the market,
Mosque yards are brimful of pigeons,
At the docks while hammers bang and clang
Spring winds bear the smell of sweat;
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed;
Still giddy since bygone bacchanals,
A seaside mansion with dingy boathouses is fast asleep,
Amid the din and drone of southern winds, reposed,
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.
Now a dainty girl walks by on the sidewalk:
Cusswords, tunes and songs, malapert remarks;
Something falls on the ground out of her hand,
It's a rose I guess.
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed;
A bird flutters round your skirt;I know your brow is moist with sweat
And your lips are wet.
A silver moon rises beyond the pine trees:
I can sense it all in your heart's throbbing.
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

- Orhan Veli Kanik

(Translated by Talat Sait Halman (1982))

(1) Photos taken by me. The first and last(bottom of the post) have been cropped (click to enlarge). First view is from the Bosphorous ferry crossing, second from the Istanbul Modern (with views of the Topkapı, Aya Irini and Ayasofya) and the third from Eyüp.

(2) The poem in Turkish:

ISTANBUL'U DINLIYORUM
Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali
Once hafiften bir ruzgar esiyor;
Yavas yavas sallaniyor
Yapraklar, agaclarda;
Uzaklarda, cok uzaklarda,
Sucularin hic durmayan cingiraklari
Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali.

Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali;
Kuslar geciyor, derken;
Yukseklerden, suru suru, ciglik ciglik.
Aglar cekiliyor dalyanlarda;
Bir kadinin suya degiyor ayaklari;
Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali.

Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali;
Serin serin Kapalicarsi
Civil civil Mahmutpasa
Guvercin dolu avlular
Cekic sesleri geliyor doklardan
Guzelim bahar ruzgarinda ter kokulari;
Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali.

Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali;
Basimda eski alemlerin sarhoslugu
Los kayikhaneleriyle bir yali;
Dinmis lodoslarin ugultusu icinde
Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali.

Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali;
Bir yosma geciyor kaldirimdan;
Kufurler, sarkilar, turkuler, laf atmalar.
Birsey dusuyor elinden yere;
Bir gul olmali;
Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali.

Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali;
Bir kus cirpiniyor eteklerinde;
Alnin sicak mi, degil mi, biliyorum;
Dudaklarin islak mi, degil mi, biliyorum;
Beyaz bir ay doguyor fistiklarin arkasindan
Kalbinin vurusundan anliyorum;
Istanbul'u dinliyorum.

-Orhan Veli Kanik


12 comments:

Falstaff said...

Nice pictures. I'm hoping the poem is better in the original than it is in translation. (I mean really - "Cusswords, tunes and songs, malapert remarks" - shudder!)

Have you read a book called Bellini in Istanbul by Lillias Bever, btw? It's fairly decent. Think you might relate.

Renovatio said...

For some reason I haven't been frequenting this place recently. I've been missing out I see. Just beautiful.

cubano said...

Just a question, Is the city totally overrun with tourists due to the summer high season?

Szerelem said...

Falstaff: Thank you. And unfortunately, yes, the translation leaves scope for improvement(my Turkish is still terribly limited, but I can make out of enough of the original to say that)....but it was the only one I could find.
Bellini in Istanbul - shall try to find it.

renovatio: Tesekkur.

cubano: Lots of tourists around Sultanahmet...but I would think thats always the case....other than that not many....

Ali Riza ARICAN said...

falstaff>> I assure you that the poem in original language sounds much better and much more content... Orhan Veli is a poet of melancholy and he is also one of the prominent figures in modern Turkish poetry.

szerelam>> did't you go to Uskudar yet? or the Rumeli Hisari? or the Bosphorus University?

Take care,

Ali

Szerelem said...

I did!! (I'm not in Istanbul anymore - I already miss it so much). But yes, I went to Uskudar and walked (!) from there to Kadikoy....also I was staying at Emirgan so I passed the Rumeli Hisari everyday :)
But I didn't go inside Bogazici University.

Katalin said...

Merhaba :) a google-n találtam rá a blogodra, mikor az Istanbul'u dinliyorum angol fordítását kerestem és a Te oldalad volt az első találat. Én is nagyon szeretem Isztambult és hiányzik... Jó a fordításod, harika olmus :-)

Üdv egy másik törökország-szerelmestől

Szerelem said...

Katalin: Sorry, I didn't understand that...:(

Except harike olmus :)

Katalin said...

Oh sorry, I thought you are Hungarian and I wrote you in Hungarian, because of the title of your blog! Sorry for the confusion :)

I just wrote, this poem is wonderful and thanks for posting, I was looking for the English translation and google gave your blog as a result. :)

Szerelem said...

you're most welcome :)

It is a lovely poem... wish the translation was better.

sultanahmet said...

Great Post
Great Pics
Thanks

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