Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"The point is not to surrender"- the poetry of Nazim Hikmet

My first encounter with the poetry of Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet was in John Berger's book of essays Hold Everything Dear. One of the essays in Berger's book is a dedication to Hikmet and his poetry.

Hikmet (1902-1963) was a Turkish communist, poet, poet, playwright, novelist and political activist who spent most of his adult life in prison or exile for his political beliefs. His poetry is characterized by a wonderful generosity of spirit and a powerful sense of human solidarity. You can read more about Hikmet on this website.
Hiroshima Child
By Nazin Hikmet

I come and stand at every door
But none can hear my silent tread
I knock and yet remain unseen
For I am dead for I am dead

I'm only seven though I died
In Hiroshima long ago
I'm seven now as I was then
When children die they do not grow

My hair was scorched by swirling flame
My eyes grew dim my eyes grew blind
Death came and turned my bones to dust
And that was scattered by the wind

I need no fruit I need no rice
I need no sweets nor even bread
I ask for nothing for myself
For I am dead for I am dead

All that I need is that for peace
You fight today you fight today
So that children of this world
Can live and grow and laugh and play



Living is no laughing matter :

you must live with great seriousness

like a squirrel, for example -

I mean without looking for something beyond and above

I mean living must be your whole occupation


This earth will grow cold, a star among stars

and one of the smallest

a gilded mote on blue velvet-

I mean this, our great earth.

This earth will grow cold one day.

not like a block of ice

or a dead cloud even

but like an empty walnut it will roll along

in pitch-black space.

You must grieve for this right now

-you have to feel this sorrow now-

for the world must be loved this much

if you're going to say "I lived"......

by Nazim Hikmet

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One more beautiful poem by Nazim Hikmet and thank you for sharing these:

I've read about falling leaves in fifty thousand poems novels and so on
watched leaves falling in fifty thousand movies
seen leaves fall fifty thousand times
fall drift and rot
felt their dead shush shush fifty thousand times
underfoot in my hands on my fingertips
but I'm still touched by falling leaves
especially those falling on boulevards
especially chestnut leaves
and if kids are around
if it's sunny
and I've got good news for friendship
especially if my heart doesn't ache
and I believe my love loves me
especially if it's a day I feel good about people
I'm touched by falling leaves
especially those falling on boulevards
especially chestnut leaves

~Nazim Hikmet