Invitation

Galloping from Far Asia and jutting out
into the Mediterranean like a mare’s head
this country is ours.

Wrists in blood, teeth clenched, feet bare
and this soil spreading like a silk carpet,
this hell, this paradise is ours.

Shut the gates of plutocracy, don’t let them open again,
annihilate man’s servitude to man,
this invitation is ours.

To live like a tree single and at liberty
and brotherly like the trees of a forest,
this yearning is ours.

Letters from Prison

Take out the dress i first saw you in
look your best,
look like spring trees
Wear in your hair
the carnation i sent you in a letter from prison,
raise your kissable, lined, broad white forehead.
Today, not broken and sad-
no way!
today Nazim Hikmet‘s woman must be beautiful
like a rebel flag…

4 December 1945

The most beautiful sea :
is the sea which is not reached yet.
The most beautiful child :
hasn’t grown yet.
The most beautiful days of ours :
are those which we didn’t live yet.
And the most beautiful words I want to tell you :
are the words which I did’nt tell yet…

24 September 1945

They’ve taken us prisoner,
they’ve locked us up :
me inside the walls,
you outside.
But that’s nothing.
The worst
is when people – knowingly or not -
carry prison inside themselves…
Most people have been forced to do this,
honest, hard-working, good people
who deserve to be loved as much as I love you…

26 September 1945

Letters to Kemal Tahir from Prison

This world will grow cold,
a star among stars,
one of the smallest,
this great world of ours
a gilded mote on blue velvet.

This world will grow cold one day,
not like a ball of ice,
or even a lifeless cloud -
but like an empty walnut it will roll around and around
in pitch dark space for ever.

You must grieve for it right now,
and endure the sadness,
for you must love the world this much
if you are to say,
‘I have lived’.

February 1948