Tag Archives: Istanbul

Friday Poem: From Another Hill by Yahya Kemal Beyatlı

I look at you from another hill, dear Istanbul!
I know you like back of my hand, and love you dearly.
Come, come sit on my heart’s throne as long as I live
Just to love a district of yours is worth a whole life.

There are many flourishing cities in the world.
But you’re the only one who creates enchanting beauty.
I say, he who has lived happily, in the longest dream,
Is he who spent his life in you, died in you, and was buried in you.

by Yahya Kemal Beyatlı

translated on the site All Poetry

..another Istanbul poem from Leonard Durso’s glorious website leonarddurso.com

Friday Poem: Days by Orhan Veli Kanık

There are days, I gather myself and leave,
In the smell of nets freshly hauled from the sea
Taking flight on the path of gulls
Drifting from one island to another.

There are unimaginable worlds,
Flowers open, erupt in noise,
Smoke bursts noisily from the earth.

But the seagulls, the seagulls,
Each feather bristling with haste!

There are days, blue all over me.
There are days, sunlight all over me.
There are days, delirious days . . .

by Orhan Veli Kanik

translated by George Messo

Rather than from one of my poetry books, this week I have a Turkish poem from Leonard Durso’s glorious website leonarddurso.com

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Fish nets being withdrawn in fishing weirs,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.  :(