Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Two Poems

Haven't had much time to read anything. My Name is Red in starts and stops and last week, Agha Shahid Ali and Faiz. This week has been a mix of Darwish and Hikmet. Two poems I love very much here. Falstaff, still no Darwish on Poitre ... you really should have some ...

And We Have a Land

And we have a land without borders, like our idea
of the unknown, narrow and wide. A land …
when we walk in its map it becomes narrow with us,
and takes us to an ashen tunnel, so we shout
in its labyrinth: And we still love you, our love
is a hereditary illness. A land … when
it banishes us to the unknown … it grows. And
the willows and adjectives grow. And its grass grows
and its blue mountains. The lake widens
in the soul’s north. Wheat rises in the soul’s
south. The lemon fruit gleams like a lantern
in the emigrant’s night. Geography glistens
like a holy book. And the chain of hills
becomes an ascension place to higher … to higher.
“If I were a bird I would have burned my wings,” someone says
to his exiled self. The scent of autumn becomes
the image of what I love … The light rain leaks
into the heart’s drought, and the imagination opens up
to its sources, and becomes place, the only
real one. And everything from the faraway
returns as a primitive countryside, as if earth
were still creating itself to meet Adam, descending
to the ground floor from his paradise. Then I say:
That’s our land over there pregnant with us … When was it
that we were born? Did Adam get married twice? Or will we
be born a second time
to forget sin?

- Mahmoud Darwish, The Butterfly’s Burden
(Translated from the Arabic by Fady Joudah)


The Strangest Creature on Earth

You're like a scorpion, my brother,
you live in cowardly darkness
like a scorpion.
You're like a sparrow, my brother,
always in a sparrow's flutter.
You're like a clam, my brother,
closed like a clam, content,
And you're frightening, my brother,
like the mouth of an extinct volcano.

Not one,
not five --
unfortunately, you number millions.
You're like a sheep, my brother:
when the cloaked drover raises his stick,
you quickly join the flock
and run, almost proudly, to the slaughterhouse.
I mean you're strangest creature on earth --
even stranger than the fish
that couldn't see the ocean for the water.
And the oppression in this world
is thanks to you.
And if we're hungry, tired, covered with blood,
and still being crushed like grapes for our wine,
the fault is yours --
I can hardly bring myself to say it,
but most of the fault, my dear brother, is yours.

- Nazim Hikmet, 1947
(Translated from the Turkish by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk)


Falstaff said...

szerelem: Ya, ya. Of course, the easiest way to make your (Dar)wish come true is to make / find a recording of a poem by him and mail it to us. We'll be happy to put it up.

Szerelem said...

Making a recording is kind of out - really, I would not want to inflict that on any one. If I do find a recording I'll mail you.

Beth said...

It's always good to read Darwish. thanks for this one.

Madhuri said...

Hey Szerlem, after enjoying your fantastic coverage of Istanbul, I have tagged you for a meme which you might find interesting.
I hope you can continue it. Thanks, Madhuri

Szerelem said...

Madhuri, hi and welcome! And thanks for the meme - I will definitely do it but it might take a bit of time. I just got home for a vacation and have no pictures with me as of now!

Madhuri said...

Thanks Szerelem, I will look forward to the post.

Space Bar said...

you are totally going to hate me for this but what the heck!

Via Prufrock's Page

That Armchair Philosopher said...

For some reason, I preferred Darwish to Hikmet. I can't figure out why though.

@spacebar - hehehe, interesting article. *goes to read*..

yusufyusuf said...

Happy holidays...

Szerelem said...

Space bar: wow… I check my mail after three days and find so many mails telling me about that article in The Globe and Mail!!

I know people at Columbia and even in Turkey who think he’s a bit of a diva and in Turkey especially a lot of people either straight out don’t like him because they think he’s a publicity seeking sell out to the west or that he is in general a mediocre writer. So, all this is very common it’s just that it’s probably the first time some one is saying it on the international scene. That article though was so mean spirited… sheesh.

I liked Other Colours - some parts of it more than others. (Have you read it?) Most of the essays were published in Turkey about 10 years (?) back and I think they were written at a time when Pamuk was more self obsessed and depressed than he is now – he would probably admit as much. I do think the review makes him seem even more depressing and boring that the writings in the book actually are. I think Pamuk is a lovely observer of things and that comes across in the book…I also think he has a wonderful childlike enthusiasm for books and his city and that is very obvious too. Yes, Istanbul is a very vibrant, pulsating metropolis and Pamuk has a very personal take on the city (most of Istanbul is set in his youth) but anyone with any sense of history of the city would easily relate to Pamuks concept of huzun. This is especially true in the outer districts, where houses seem like the will collapse any minute and where the old inhabitants seem to have disappeared.

As some one who mailed me said, a lot of authors are egoistical, depressed and what not – they just don’t tell others about it. Maybe it’s just wiser not to publish “Dear Diary” sort of essays, and maybe (in all probability) Pamuk was just cashing in with the book…but really, if not when you’ve won a Nobel, then when? :)

Yusuf: umm... bilgi için teşekkürler. Sana da iyi tatiller.

Renovatio said...

Have a great year :)