Friday Poem: I am listening to Istanbul

I am listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed
First a breeze is blowing
And leaves swaying
Slowly on the trees;
Far far away the bells of the
Water carriers ringing,
I am listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed
A bird is passing by,
Birds are passing by, screaming, screaming,
Fish nets being withdrawn in fishing weirs,
A woman’s toe dabbling in water,
I am listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed.

I am listening,
The cool Grand Bazaar,
Mahmutpasha twittering
Full of pigeons,
Its vast courtyard,
Sounds of hammering from the docks,
In the summer breeze far, far away the odor of sweat,
I am listening.

I am listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed
The drunkenness of old times
In the wooden seaside villa with its deserted boat house
The roaring southwestern wind is trapped,
My thoughts are trapped
Listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed
A coquette is passing by on the sidewalk,
Curses, sings, sings, passes;
Something is falling from your hand
To the ground,
It must be a rose.
I am listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed
A bird is flying round your skirt;
I know if your forehead is hot or cold
Or your lips are wet or dry;
Or if a white moon is rising above the pistachio tree
My heart’s fluttering tells me. . .
I am listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed.

by Orhan Veli Kanik

translated by the poet Murat Nemet-Nejat

…and I admit, this time the poem comes not from my poetry bookshelf, but from Leonard Durso’s glorious website leonarddurso.com

Also, we should have been in Istanbul last week, but Corona got in the way.  :(

14 thoughts on “Friday Poem: I am listening to Istanbul

        1. With wonderful food too! As students we lived in a Turkish enclave in London and we have great memories of our nieghbours. The area is still predominantly Turkish, although I suspect the traditional wrestling no longer happens in the park on Sunday mornings (the police were never keen on the nudity).

          Liked by 1 person

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