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Crystal & Other Poems— Salih Bolat

Feb 1, 2023 | Poetry | 0 comments

Translated from the Turkish by Gökçenur Ç and Neil P. Doherty


Five poems on depression and loneliness by Salih Bolat

Image used for representation

We’ll Come

we’ll come with the songs
a forest sings as
it burns.

our voices will be scattered
on the eerie wind of
a flying scythe.

our hearts will be changed
for a bird’s pennant
for a poppy leaf.

with the rain’s feet
with the goat births, we’ll run
over the dirtied plains.

we’ll come with songs
a mountain sings
as it awakes


there the ice must be melting now
the frozen waters wish to walk again
you are putting a log on the fire
and perhaps another
just then in the river
winter awakens.

it is difficult to establish what has happened here
a man with a book in his hand
staring out at an abandoned orchard
we wake to news of war.

were we betrayed in the mountains
were the people trying to know themselves?

I thought you were there
have you come from the sun-filled windows
your hands still smelling of basil?


you hewed me from your light
like sun
over scrubs of summer.

I holler your scream.
birds in flight always amaze me
are they not baffled by their wings
as the bare tinder sets
the night’s coat ablaze.

I kiss your lightning streaks.

a sky beckons you to its side
with the depths of a love some god
fashioned for us that same winter
and in spite of the retreating snow

I enter your darkness

Waiting For You 

with your dove-mingled face, come
waken the sleeping solitude
embracing itself in your bed

come, appearing to none
like a snake hidden under a basket
hoarding a thought in its head

come, with your
mouth that gathers rain
for the thirsty birds to sip

do not arouse the aged evening
slumbering beneath the linden tree
in the garden

come, beyond all the uttered words
quieting the silence of a cracked rock
with a glimmer on your naked shoulder
grasping at the unseen, come

Say It 

evening sculpts an apple from the sun
with the birds, the trees take to the air
in the dark a forest of wings of arms
disrobes a graceless winter
you, the iron, growing warmer next to the fire, say
what the stones cannot
you, the fire, rebelling from a single sign, say
what the stars cannot
you, the mouth, kept shut in terror, say
what death cannot

Also, read a Bengali story by Hamiruddin Middya , translated into English by Ankita Bose, and published in The Antonym:

The Courtyard— Hamiruddin Middya

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The author of several books of essays, poetry, and criticism, Salih Bolat (1956, Adana) graduated from the Department of Social Politics at the University of Gazi (1980). He completed his doctorate at Hacettepe University. He has lectured at several universities in İstanbul and Ankara, on scriptwriting, creative writing, and literature, and has served as a member of the editorial boards of many Turkish literary journals. Among his notable works are Yaşanan (What Is Lived, 1983), Bir Afişin Önünde (In Front of a Poster, 1986), Sınır ve Sonsuz (Limit and Infinity, 1988), Karşılaşma (Encounter, 1993), Uzak ve Eski (Distant and Old, 1995), Gece Tanıklığı (Witness to the Night, 1999), Açılmış Kanat (Spread Wings, 2004), Yol Ayrımı (Crossroad, 2006), Kanıt (Evidence, 2006), and Atların Uykusu (Sleeping of The Horses, 2014). Salih Bolat passed away in February 2002. His death was a huge loss for Turkish poetry. 

Gökçenur Ç’s first collection, Handbook of Every Book, came out in 2006, and Rest of the Words in 2010, both from Yitik Ülke (Lost Land) Publishing House. He has also published books in Italian and Serbian translation and in 2012 his fifth book, With So Many Words On Your Back, was published by Yitik Ülke. He has translated Wallace Stevens, Paul Auster, Katerina Illiopoulou, and a modern Japanese haiku anthology into Turkish, and is currently preparing an anthology of modern American poetry. He has attended several international poetry and translation workshops and festivals and his poems have been translated into English, German, French, Greek, Bulgarian, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, Romanian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Serbian, Croatian, Occitan, and Hebrew. He has run international poetry translation workshops, is co-director of the Word Express project and is a founding board member of Delta International Cultural Interactions.

Neil Patrick Doherty

Neil P. Doherty is a translator born in Dublin, Ireland in 1972 who has resided in Istanbul since 1995. He currently teaches at Bilgi University. He is a freelance translator of both Turkish and Irish poetry. In 2017 he edited Turkish Poetry Today, which was published in the U.K. by Red Hand Books. His translations have appeared in Poetry Wales, The Dreaming Machine, The Honest Ulsterman, Turkish Poetry Today, Arter (İstanbul), Advaitam Speaks, The Seattle Star, The Enchanting Verses, and The Berlin Quarterly.




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