Gülten Akin, Two Poems

Translated from the Turkish


Gülten Akın, Ağıtlar ve Türküler 1972-1983 (p.30)


ANNESİ ÇALIŞAN ÇOCUĞUN AĞIDI

Attım. Boyalar ne işe yarayabilir
Yalnızlık için karadan başka
Hangi rengi kullanabilirim
Kuru masa, donuk tavan, somurtuk halı
Solgun durmalı resimlerim

Pencerem kuşları çekmiyor
Soluğu azaldı nergislerin
Üç tarak olsa taranmaz Yuku-Lili’nin saçları
Ben annesi çalışan bir çocuğum

Yollarda damlarda eski yazdan kalma
Mavi çizgileri kar gelir kapatır
Sustum. Sevincin sesleri de
Bir iki deneyip susacak
Duvar diplerinde kedisel çığlıklar
Bahçelerde çirkin kasımpatları açmalıdır


Lament of a Working Mother's Child

I threw them out. What good are paints
For loneliness, apart from black
What colour can I use
Dry table, dull ceiling, sulky carpet
My pictures should look pale

My window no longer attracts birds
Daffodils are losing their breath
Even with three brushes, you still can’t comb Yuku-Lili’s hair
I am the child of a mother who goes out to work

Snow on the road and the roof veils
The blue lines left over from last summer
I say nothing. Trying once or twice
The sound of joy will also say nothing
Cat-like wails at the foot of the wall
In the gardens, ugly chrysanthemums should be blooming

• • •

Gülten Akın, Kuş Uçsa Gölge Kalır

LEKE

Çağın en karmaşık yerinde durduk
biri bizi yazsın, kendimiz değilse
kim yazacak
sustukça köreldi
kaba günü yonttuğumuz ince bıçak
nerde onlar, her kımıldayışta
çakan tansık, ışıldatan büyü
bir gün daha görülmedi
bir gün daha geçti otları soldurarak

öğrendik de körmüş, sanki yokmuş
ne yol ne bir geçip giden
ne kaydını tutan geçip gidenin
dediler ki
onları kilitle, anahtarı eski yerine bırak
oysa
utanılacak bir şeymiş, öyle diyor Camus
tak başına mutlu olmak
sesler ve öteki sesler, nerde dünyanın sesleri
leke dokuya işledi
susarak susarak


Stain

Here we stand at the messiest point of our time

someone should write us, if we don’t
who will

the more silence kept, the duller became
the fine knife we used
to carve out raw day

where are they, the flashing miracle
and the shining magic in every motion

one more day unseen
one more day passed withering the grass

so we learn it was blind, as if there were
no alley no passerby
no one to record the passerby

they said
lock them up, leave the key in its old place

but the truth is
it’s a shameful thing, as Camus says
to be happy on your own

voices and other voices, where are the world’s voices

the stain invaded the tissue
saying nothing saying nothing

• • •

Gülten Akın (b. 1933) is Turkey’s most distinguished woman poet. She moved to Ankara with her family in 1943 and attended Cebeci Elementary school and Ankara High School for girls. She studied law at Ankara University and worked as a lawyer in several regions of Anatolia. She is at the forefront of poets for whom poetry is synonymous with social responsibility. Her poetry is characterized by a calm yet powerful voice. She attempted to distance herself from the influential “Second New Movement” in the period of their hegemony in Turkish poetry (approx 1960’s and 70’s) and has focused on utilizing folk poetry in her later poetry.. Her major poetry collections include Rüzgâr Saati (Hour of the Wind / 1956), Kestim Kara Saçlarımı (I Cut My Dark Hair / 1960), Sığda (In the Shallows / 1964), Kırmızı Karanfil (Red Carnation / 1971), Maraş’ın ve Ökkeş’in Destanı (Epic of Maraş and Ökkeş / 1972), Ağıtlar ve Türküler (Elegies and Folk Songs / 1976), İlahiler (Hymns / 1983), Sevda Kalıcıdır (Love Endures / 1991), Sonra İşte Yaşlandım (It Was Then That I Aged / 1995), Sessiz Arka Bahçeler (Silent Back Yards / 1998) and Uzak Bir Kıyıda (On a Distant Shore / 2004). Akın was awarded the 1961 and 1971 Turkish Language Association Poetry Awards and the 1992 Sedat Simavi Literature Award.


Cemal Demircioğlu is Assistant Professor of Translation Studies at Okan University, Istanbul, Turkey. He completed his BA and MA in Modern Turkish Literagure at Boğazici University and obtained his PhD in Translation Studies from the same university in 2005.

Arzu Eker teaches English and translation at Boğazici University. She is currently working on her PhD thesis on Orhan Pamuk’s translations into English at the same university.

Mel Kenne is a poet and translator who teaches in the American Culture and Literature Department of Kadir Has University in Istanbul, Turkey. He has published three volumes of poetry and translated the work of a number of Turkish writers, most recently the novel Swords of Ice, by Latife Tekin.

Sidney Wade is a poet and translator. Her new collections of poems forthcoming from Persea Books in January 2008 is called Stroke. She teaches at the University of Florida.

These two poems by Gülten Akin were translated at the Cunda Workshop for Translators of Turkish Literature in June 2007.

1 comment:

Henry Lawson Poems said...

I would be interested in seeing the translations.