Ah, bu rüya gibi vadi, bu bahçe, bu havuz!
Bu ezgi kulakta, bu şarap damakta,
toy düğün gecesinden kalan!
Bu tan yeri cömertliğinde körpe sine,
Bu alev gibi yakan dudaklar,
ah, bu tatlı baş dönmesi!
Avuçlarımın arasında tuttuğum bu biçimli baş,
Bu benzersiz güzel gözler,
bu güzel, bu derin, bu zeki…
Bunların hepsi, ey Kader, bunların hepsi,
Kıyılarımızı döven bu dağ gibi varlık dalgaları,
bir damla ölümün yanında ne ki?
Anlımıza vurduğun o kuzgunî tuğra yanında,
Gözümüze sokmak için değilse onu,
bu çarşaf çarşaf beyazın hükmü ne, Nakkaş?
Kopan telden çıkan o detone tınlamanın,
O tek vuruşluk hoyrat sesin yanında
bunca neşidenin hükmü ne, Çengî?
O bir yudumcuk zehir zıkkım şarabın yanında
Üzüm şerbetiyle dolu bu billur sürahinin,
bu koca kâinatın hükmü ne, Meyhaneci?
Sorası tutuyor işte, aptal mı aptal aklın!
O sorunca da, kafası karışıyor, keyfi kaçıyor,
ödlek mi ödlek nefsin, bedbin mi bedbin yüreğin!
Morning of Hayyam
Ah, this dream-like valley, this garden, this pool!
This tune in the ear, this wine in the palate,
Left over from a cold wedding night!
This tender chest as generous as daybreak
These blaze-like burning lips,
Ah, this sweet dizziness!
This beautiful head that I hold in my palms
These unique, pleasant eyes,
This pretty, this profound, this intelligent…
All of these, O! Fate, all of these,
These mountain-like waves of existence that stroke our coasts
What is it worth beside one sip of death?
Beside that raven royal stamp that you dashed to our foreheads,
If it’s not for thrusting under our eyes,
What’s the legitimacy of this sheet by sheet white, O! Embroiderer?
Beside that off-tune tinkling that emanates out of a broken string,
Beside that single pulse of the clumsy sound
What’s the authority of these nasheeds, O! Dancer?
Beside that one sip of poisonous wine
What is the worth of a crystal jug, full of grape sharbat
What’s the rule of this universe, Pub-keeper?
So silly mind falls into an enquiry.
When it enquires, it thickens; its joy runs away,
Of that so coward self, of that so pessimist heart!
20 August 2002
Notes: “Royal stamp” refers to the Tughra, the calligraphic seal or signature of an Ottoman sultan. Nasheeds, or anansheeds, are Islamic songs popular throughout the Muslim world, usually unaccompanied.
Cahit Koytak was born in Erzurum on January 29, 1949. He graduated from Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Chemistry in 1974 as a chemical engineer and worked as an engineer before starting his own business. From 1994-2008, he worked at a private TV channel and he still works as a freelancer. Koytak has translated numerous books from Arabic, English and French into Turkish. His poems have been published in many Turkish literary journals, including in Dirilis, Kelime, Yönelis, Yedi Iklim, Kayitlar, Gergedan, Defter, Kasgar, Hece, Yansima, Le Poete Travaille, Kitaplik, Kirklar, Merdiven Siir, and Anlayis. He won the Turkey Writers Union “Translator of the Year” Prize in 1988 for his translation of Peau noire, masques blancs by Franz Fanon.
Mustafa Burak Sezer was born in Istanbul in 1981, and has been writing poetry, short-stories, essays, and short film scenarios since 1996. His works are widely published in Turkish literary magazines since 2004, including in Dergâh, 7edi Iklim, Istanbul Bir Nokta, Mor Taka, Ikindi Yagmuru and Ç.N. Sezer graduated from International Islamic University Islamabad, Faculty of Languages & Literature, in 2009, and is working as a journalist, a correspondent of TimeTurk in Pakistan. He has translated many poems, essays and short-stories from English and world literature into Turkish and from Turkish into English. His first poetry book, Free Things, will be published soon.