Sunday, January 16, 2011

Nazim Hikmet: News of Days to come

"I have no silver saddled horse to ride,
no inheritance to live on,
neither riches nor real estate-
a honey pot is all I own.
A pot of honey
               red as fire!"
Nazim Hikmet
About My Poetry
Searching the shelves at the University of WA's Reid Library I was excited to find English translation of three books of poetry by Nazim Hikmet, including Rubaiyat (1985 translation by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk), The Epic of Sheik Bedreddin and other poems (1977 translation by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk) and Things I Didn't Know I Loved (1977 translation by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk).

Nazim Hikmet (1902-1963) was the greatest Turkish modern poet, although his work was suppressed in Turkey for over 50 years. He spent 18 years in prison in Turkey as a political prisoner and spent the last 18 years of his life in exile. He died in Moscow in 1963.

Hikmet began writing Rubaiyat in 1945 during WWII. At the time he was into the eighth year of a 28 year prison sentence as a political prisoner.

by Nazim Hikmet (translated by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk

Fourth Series
To conquer lies in the heart, in books, and in the street,
in mother's lullabies, and in the announcer's news;
to know-its a great happiness, my love-
to know what's past and what's to come....
Our arms are branches heavy with fruit:
the enemy shakes and shakes us,
and the better to harvest our fruit
they don't chain our feet, they fetter our minds......
As long as you love
and love as much as you can,
as long as you give your all to your love
and give us much as you can, you are young...
In this business you must be hard and a little proud:
not cruelty, grief or sorrow
but death alone
must see you surrender.....

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