Daily Archives: December 13, 2008

black tulip and the name of pain

black-purple tulip, Istanbul tulip festival

black-purple tulip, Istanbul tulip festival

The Name Of Pain

Slowly quietly gold is collected under your command

slowly quietly

Slowly quietly wheat is distributed under your command

slowly quietly

Slowly quietly people’s bread is served out under your command

slowly quietly.

With you rapidly silk darkens spoils with you rapidly

Water is tied in knots becomes turbid rapidly with you

With you rapidly is atrophied the history of labor

And with you slowly slowly the name of pain

written extensively

comes out on copper quartz and bronze.

İlhan Berk

“Acinin Adi,” Kul (1992). Istanbul

translated by Suat Karantay


As if death were a daily routine …

red tulip, istanbul tulip festival, Pentax K10D

red tulip, istanbul tulip festival, Pentax K10D

AS IF DEATH WERE A DAILY ROUTINE

The road keeps winding. Eventually we stopped there.

Through the open door we saw her,

sitting there spinning wool

A wooden spindle in her hand.

A large ball of yarn had rolled over and stopped there.

At the threshold we extended our heads:

“How are you?” we said. As if

changing the place of a chair

“I’m simply dying!” she said,

without raising her head.

As if death were a daily routine.

A wind kept beating the sea before her

Which she sometimes raised her head to see.

Ilhan Berk

translated by Suat Karantay

“Gunluk Islerdenmis Gibi Olum,” Deniz Eskisi / Siirin Gizli Tarihi (1993)



Here the beginning of an unfinished poem but here another that’s miraculously complete.

purple tulip from Istanbul Tulip Festival, Pentax K10D

purple tulip from Istanbul Tulip Festival, Pentax K10D

VISITING THE BELOVED WIDOW OF THE DEAD POET

“Books, papers,” she said, “wherever I lay
my hand. Here the beginning of an unfinished poem
but here another that’s miraculously complete.
In this poem the sky was growing pale
and in this other one a street
came and went;
and such was our life together.”

Her voice
that seemed to come from very far
wandered in those rooms that silence had crushed.
But then she showed us a book that had stayed
open on his desk, the last one he had thumbed:
“He was seated there, reading this book,
and then we saw it slip away from his hands.
That was all.”
And that’s what she said
concealing her face behind her hands as if
the shadow of a passing cloud had crumpled her features.

Ilhan Berk

“Olu Bir Ozanin Sevgili Karisini Gormeye Gitmek,” Deniz Eskisi (1993)

translated by  Anne-Marie Toscan du Plantier, Eduard Roditi