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In the breezy afternoon
Life shone on your face

Under the Galata bridge

As you drove on in your sailboat
I extended my hand over the sea

Under the Galata bridge

Calling for a sip, an illusion
I wanted to stir the waves and fishes

Under the Galata bridge

In my vision there was a jump
From this state to another

But you merely passed


Under the Galata bridge
Michael R Burch Feb 2020
Ben Sana Mecburum (“You Are Indispensable”)
by Attila Ilhan
translation/interpretation by Nurgül Yayman and Michael R. Burch

You are indispensable; how can you not know
that you’re like nails riveting my brain?
I see your eyes as ever-expanding dimensions.
You are indispensable; how can you not know
that I burn within, at the thought of you?

Trees prepare themselves for autumn;
can this city be our lost Istanbul?
Now clouds disintegrate in the darkness
as the street lights flicker
and the streets reek with rain.
You are indispensable, and yet you are absent ...

Love sometimes seems akin to terror:
a man tires suddenly at nightfall,
of living enslaved to the razor at his neck.
Sometimes he wrings his hands,
expunging other lives from his existence.
Sometimes whichever door he knocks
echoes back only heartache.

A screechy phonograph is playing in Fatih ...
a song about some Friday long ago.
I stop to listen from a vacant corner,
longing to bring you an untouched sky,
but time disintegrates in my hands.
Whatever I do, wherever I go,
you are indispensable, and yet you are absent ...

Are you the blue child of June?
Ah, no one knows you—no one knows!
Your deserted eyes are like distant freighters ...
perhaps you are boarding in Yesilköy?
Are you drenched there, shivering with the rain
that leaves you blind, beset, broken,
with wind-disheveled hair?

Whenever I think of life
seated at the wolves’ table,
shameless, yet without soiling our hands ...
Yes, whenever I think of life,
I begin with your name, defying the silence,
and your secret tides surge within me
making this voyage inevitable.
You are indispensable; how can you not know?

***

Original text:

Ben sana mecburum bilemezsin
Adini mih gibi aklimda tutuyorum
Büyüdükçe büyüyor gözlerin
Ben sana mecburum bilemezsin
Içimi seninle isitiyorum.
Agaçlar sonbahara hazirlaniyor
Bu sehir o eski Istanbul mudur
Karanlikta bulutlar parçalaniyor
Sokak lambalari birden yaniyor
Kaldirimlarda yagmur kokusu
Ben sana mecburum sen yoksun.

Sevmek kimi zaman rezilce korkuludur
Insan bir aksam üstü ansizin yorulur
Tutsak ustura agzinda yasamaktan
Kimi zaman ellerini kirar tutkusu
Bir kaç hayat çikarir yasamasindan
Hangi kapiyi çalsa kimi zaman
Arkasinda yalnizligin hinzir ugultusu

Fatih'te yoksul bir gramofon çaliyor
Eski zamanlardan bir cuma çaliyor
Durup köse basinda deliksiz dinlesem
Sana kullanilmamis bir gök getirsem
Haftalar ellerimde ufalaniyor
Ne yapsam  ne tutsam nereye gitsem
Ben sana mecburum sen yoksun.

Belki haziran  da mavi benekli çocuksun
Ah seni bilmiyor kimseler bilmiyor
Bir silep siziyor issiz gözlerinden
Belki Yesilköy'de uçaga biniyorsun
Bütün islanmissin tüylerin ürperiyor
Belki körsün kirilmissin telas içindesin
Kötü rüzgar saçlarini götürüyor

Ne vakit bir yasamak düsünsem
Bu kurtlar sofrasinda belki zor
Ayipsiz   fakat ellerimizi kirletmeden
Ne vakit bir yasamak düsünsem
Sus deyip adinla basliyorum
Içim sira kimildiyor gizli denizlerin
Hayir baska türlü olmayacak
Ben sana mecburum bilemezsin.

Keywords/Tags: Turkey, Turkish, Attila Ilhan, modern English translation
Sombro Nov 2016
The comments of the ocean
Blend nicely with the brush
Of tipper topper dinky dinghies
That paddle all a hush

Ships sailing on the summer current
Keels are black and leery
With barnacles and treasures trawled at sea
They nose ahead worn and weary

I sigh a little on the plinth of my palm
Propped nicely 'gainst the ivory table
And clink ****** cups, you know
Those little things that make you remember

Shame? Not me. When I watch the birds
They hover without shame
Boasting of the clouds they've visited
And castles up high they are welcome to

Take, take, take the spring breeze that simmers in
I couldn't feel the grace of disgust
I couldn't, I'm too happy
With salt ground tea and seemly company.
A little poem written in an Istanbul café, overlooking the bay
Alin Oct 2016
If it would be up to me
I would be facing now
...
Rocks

Cool elegance
formed by the flexuous splash
Wild is the temper belonging
to the change of the impending season
the bleak-dark growing deep inside
A passion higher than the unreaching
tangent of a sharp urge unable to cut
by a smoothing of a creamy surface
Opaque by nature
hiding explosions inside
Bearing mysteries of the swallowed sounds
of seasons

Seasons of all the knowing
Covered by  ...as if
the fabric of the unknowing
of the autumn waves
of the sea that grew teardrops
Washed away at once
by a fierce Splash
Shifting the mind
as the slapped face of the shores lamenting
remerge
Covered with its courageous green
A regenerating variant elongating savor
to the nose coloring the mind
by the help of a long Forgotten
rush of the algae unseen
diffusing Joy
drifting the rhythm
of a piano of a Turkish contemporary
unlikely to be heard through this maddening
storm where I am standing tall at the edge
In perfect effortless balance
Saluting the gusting and the turbulent
of all sides encircling to provide
the stillness of a home at hearts
As they used to do

O
My friends
Stay Stay this time!
As if a song
flourishing
the smile inside
As I used to do
gestureless
and they would see

But I will need to cross soon
the horizon approaching
Vertical
I only came to see you
One more time
embrace you
the last time
walk with you
through the bazaars and bridges

Our memories trapped in tidal fluctuation
Spanning generations over the Bosphorous
traces of dolphins patiently carrying
holding on to the edges
of old fishing boats
Wood hardly bearing
these ashes made of stars
Waiting to be born again
by my one look into the water
like the first one
A cry of eternity
and Today
I am heading home already
crossing this place only
where you brewed me to love
in this old drawing of truth
plainly framed
hanging
on this play
for a farewell

Ashes to alight to the sky
sculpting the light of poetic alignment
of you and I
in the eyes of the loving

A deliverance of Enjoyment of the being
Shall be my duty says a passerby carrying
The matchmaker's match for all
Until the final journey
where I shall eternally Stay
Stay this time
but
I am heading home now
I only came here to set you free
Tuana Jul 2016
I think of Istanbul
Diary recalls beautiful memories
May peace prevail

I feel for Istanbul
breathe in a cup of cay
May happiness spread

Istanbul Magic
how many times it warmed me
My hope is with you
I think I'll take a trip to I don't know
So I can sit back and whistle low
Thinking about all the loves I've come to know
Thinking about how they go

I'll sit warm with morning sun
Kidding around can be so much fun
Golden rays upon my plate
Eat up my waffles , it's getting late

I wondered where the pale moon went
He's out moonlighting is what I think
All last night he was certainly a no show
But who am I to even know

Somewhere there's a distant dream
Hiding behind the unsewn seams
There's a tear in the universe
I guess it could be so much worse

The clouds are playing tag in the sky
Fumbling around , putting on a show
Watch out as one falls down
The tears are falling , I might drown

I think I'll take a trip to I don't know
R Dickson Feb 2015
I didn't get mail today,
The postman didn't call,
No letter box rattling,
No letters in the hall,

No dinner reservations,
No flights to Istanbul,
No romantic entanglement,
Valentine's day's so cruel.

— The End —