red flowers, you live in cowardly darkness like a scorpion.


red-yellow flowers, istanbul, pentax k10d

red-yellow flowers, istanbul, pentax k10d

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

Trans. by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk (1993)

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