Monthly Archives: April 2008

The mature ones are a sea

yellow-red tulip, Istanbul Tulip Festival, Pentax K10D

yellow-red tulip, Istanbul Tulip Festival, Pentax K10D

The mature ones are a sea

The mature ones are a sea.
A lover is needed to take the plunge,
a diver to bring up a pearl.

When you have brought
the pearl to the surface,
a jeweler is needed to know its worth.

Stay on the road until you arrive.
Be speechless. Don’t become a salesman.
Find an ‘Ali to follow.

Muhammed knew Truth in himself.
Truth is present everywhere.
You only need eyes to see it.

Ask your daily sustenance from Truth,
the only Apportioner. Find someone
who is master of his ego.

The lovers asked me to sing.
Someone without greed is needed
to complete what is started.

Sufi, who are you kidding?
Can anyone but Truth
satisfy a human need?

Truth’s place is in the heart.
There is a verse in the Quran-In soul
love has a tower higher than the throne of Creation.

I’ve gone crazy on this Way.
I can’t tell day from night.
The arrow of Love has pierced my heart.

Come, poor Yunus, come,
hold the hands of the mature.
In their humility is a cure.

from The Drop That Became the Sea: Lyric Poems of Yunus Emre, Translated by Kabir Helminski / Translated by Refik Algan

taken by Pentax K10D, at Istanbul

The lover is outcast and idle

a tulip from Istanbul Tulip Festival, I ve used Pentax K10D

a tulip from Istanbul Tulip Festival, I ve used Pentax K10D

The lover is outcast and idle

My soul,
the way of the masters
is thinner than the thinnest.
What blocked Solomon’s way was an ant.

Night and day the lover’s
tears never end,
tears of blood,
remembering the Beloved.

“The lover is outcast and idle,”
they used to tell me.
It’s true.
It happened to me.

I tried to make sense of the Four Books,
until love arrived,
and it all became a single syllable.

You who claim to be dervishes
and to never do what God forbids –
the only time you’re free of sin
is when you’re in His hands.

Two people wer talking.
One said, “I wish I could see this Yunus.”
“I’ve seen him,” the other says,
“He’s just another old lover.”

from The Drop That Became the Sea: Lyric Poems of Yunus Emre, Translated by Kabir Helminski / Translated by Refik Algan

taken by Pentax K10D, at Istanbul

early season in Riva, Well I know it again a june again july and once more august

Riva castle, Riva village (pentax K10D)

Riva castle, Riva village (pentax K10D)

THE END OF SUMMER

summer is waning, fall
as for us Russian dolls who never grow at all
in a dream we met and in a dream we parted
come on, it’s time that one of us should wake the other up
each of us inside the darkness of the other captive
each of us inside the snowdrift of the other buried
far from the long winters of different ilk for each cocoon
come on, it’s time that one of us should wake the other up
the writs of our youth have passed. The farms are now deserted
the nests of the storks emptied with the falling rains
we have questions now at hand; each day keeps doling out to us
what’s written down for those who linger on
summer’s ending summer’s ending summer’s ending
Well I know it
again a june again july and once more august

Murathan Mungan

“Yaz Sonu,” Yaz Gecer (1991)

Those who became complete… , to fly

time to gym, Riva beach in Blacksea (with pentax K10D)

time to gym, Riva beach in Blacksea (with pentax K10D)

Those who became complete…

Those who became complete
 didn't live this life in hypocrisy,
didn't learn the meaning of things
by reading commentaries.

Reality is an ocean; the Law is a ship.
Many have never left the ship,
never jumped into the sea.

They might have come to Worship
but they stopped at rituals.
They never knew or entered the Inside.

Those who think the Four Books
were meant to be talked about,
who have only read explanations
and never entered meaning,
are really in sin.

Yunus means "true friend"
for one whose journey has begun.
Until we transform our Names,
we haven't found the Way.

Yunus Emre

taken by Pentax K10D, at Istanbul

One Who Is Real Is Humble

purple tulip, istanbul tulip festival, istanbul, pentax k10d

purple tulip, istanbul tulip festival, istanbul, pentax k10d

One Who Is Real Is Humble

To be real on this path you must be humble–
If you look down at others you’ll get pushed down the stairs.

If your heart goes around on high, you fly far from this path.
There’s no use hiding it–
What’s inside always leaks outside.

Even the one with the long white beard, the one who looks so wise–
If he breaks a single heart, why bother going to Mecca?
If he has no compassion, what’s the point?

My heart is the throne of the Beloved,
the Beloved the heart’s destiny:
Whoever breaks another’s heart will find no homecoming
in this world or any other.

The ones who know say very little
while the beasts are always speaking volumes;
One word is enough for one who knows.

If there is any meaning in the holy books, it is this:
Whatever is good for you, grant it to others too–

Whoever comes to this earth migrates back;
Whoever drinks the wine of love
understands what I say–

Yunus, don’t look down at the world in scorn–

Keep your eyes fixed on your Beloved’s face,
then you will not see the bridge
on Judgment Day.

from Quarreling with God: Mystic Rebel Poems of the Dervishes of Turkey, Translated by Jennifer Ferraro / Translated by Latif Bolat

taken by Pentax K10D, at Istanbul

I am a fatherless pearl…

yellow-red tulips from Istanbul Tulip Festival by Pentax K10D

yellow-red tulips from Istanbul Tulip Festival by Pentax K10D


I am a fatherless pearl unrecognized by the sea.
I am the drop that contains the ocean.

Its waves are amazing. It's beautiful to be a sea
 hidden within an infinite drop.

When Majnun spoke Layla's name,
he broke the meter of his poem.
I was both Layla and Majnun who adored her.

Mansur did not speak idly of Unity.
He was not kidding when he said, "I am Truth."

In this world of many,
You are Joseph and I am Jacob.
In the universe of Unity,
there is neither Joseph nor Canaan.

That my name is Yunus
is a problem in this material world.
But if you ask my real name,
it is the Power behind all powers.

Yunus Emre

taken by Pentax K10D, at Istanbul

A Sad State Of Freedom

yellow tulips, istanbul tulip festival, istanbul, pentax k10d

yellow tulips, istanbul tulip festival, istanbul, pentax k10d

A Sad State Of Freedom
You waste the attention of your eyes,
the glittering labour of your hands,
and knead the dough enough for dozens of loaves
of which you’ll taste not a morsel;
you are free to slave for others–
you are free to make the rich richer.

The moment you’re born
they plant around you
mills that grind lies
lies to last you a lifetime.
You keep thinking in your great freedom
a finger on your temple
free to have a free conscience.

Your head bent as if half-cut from the nape,
your arms long, hanging,
your saunter about in your great freedom:
you’re free
with the freedom of being unemployed.

You love your country
as the nearest, most precious thing to you.
But one day, for example,
they may endorse it over to America,
and you, too, with your great freedom–
you have the freedom to become an air-base.

You may proclaim that one must live
not as a tool, a number or a link
but as a human being–
then at once they handcuff your wrists.
You are free to be arrested, imprisoned
and even hanged.

There’s neither an iron, wooden
nor a tulle curtain
in your life;
there’s no need to choose freedom:
you are free.
But this kind of freedom
is a sad affair under the stars.

Nazim Hikmet

taken by Pentax K10D, at Istanbul

Riva castle : A lover is needed to take the plunge, a diver to bring up a pearl.

Riva Castle, Riva Village, Blacksea region of Istanbul, Pentax K10D

Riva Castle, Riva Village, Blacksea region of Istanbul, Pentax K10D

Riva castle and Riva village.  Pentax K10D.

The mature ones are a sea

The mature ones are a sea.
A lover is needed to take the plunge,
a diver to bring up a pearl.

When you have brought
the pearl to the surface,
a jeweler is needed to know its worth.

Stay on the road until you arrive.
Be speechless. Don’t become a salesman.
Find an ‘Ali to follow.

Muhammed knew Truth in himself.
Truth is present everywhere.
You only need eyes to see it.

Ask your daily sustenance from Truth,
the only Apportioner. Find someone
who is master of his ego.

The lovers asked me to sing.
Someone without greed is needed
to complete what is started.

Sufi, who are you kidding?
Can anyone but Truth
satisfy a human need?

Truth’s place is in the heart.
There is a verse in the Quran-In soul
love has a tower higher than the throne of Creation.

I’ve gone crazy on this Way.
I can’t tell day from night.
The arrow of Love has pierced my heart.

Come, poor Yunus, come,
hold the hands of the mature.
In their humility is a cure.

from The Drop That Became the Sea: Lyric Poems of Yunus Emre, Translated by Kabir Helminski / Translated by Refik Algan

study tai-chi

Riva beach, pentax K10D

Riva beach, pentax K10D

viewing from Riva castle

Riva castle and Riva village  (pentax K10D)

Riva castle and Riva village (pentax K10D)

A LAST LULLABY

The only morbid thing my mother did
was to let an orange rot on the porch.
I doubt if it was a symbol for her:
she did not see the mold as cruel fate
the flies as hubris, the smell as despair.
She would gaze at it and whisper to it
the way she had once sung her lullabies.
“Maybe,” said my brother, “she hopes to turn
it into a fruit of Paradise.” No—
all she wanted was to stare and murmur:
and the orange just stared back and murmured.
They lulled each other to one last remorse.

Talât Sait Halman

“Son Bir Ninni,”  A Last Lullaby (1990— bilingual edition published in cooperation with Varlik Yayinlari).  New York: Cross-Cultural Communications.

SON BİR NİNNİ

Annemin ömrü boyunca yaptığı tek garip şey
sundurmaya bir portakal koyup çürütmekti.
Portakal bir simge filân değildi onun için:
Amansız bir kader gibi görmüyordu küfleri;
Sinekler gurur değildi, ne de koku umutsuzluk.
Annem gözlerini dikip bakıyordu portakala,
Birşeyler fısıldıyordu eski ninniler gibi.
“Belki,” demişti Ağabeyim bir kez, “Baka baka
bir Cennet meyvasına çevirecek onu.” Hayır,
Annemin istediği yalnızca bakmaktı, mırıldanmaktı:
Portakal da durup mırıldanıyordu yerli yerinde.
Son pişmanlığın ninnisini söylüyorlardı karşılıklı.

Talât Sait Halman