Translated from Turkish by Neil P. Doherty
“leyse fi cübbeti sivallah”* junayd of baghdad those who look at me see but my body i am elsewhere those who bury me bury but my body i am elsewhere open your cloak junayd what do you see the unseeable where is junayd what has become of junayd what became of you, of me has become of him right under his own cloak junayd became no more
*”Under my cloak there is nothing but God”, attributed to Junayd of Baghdad (830–910) a Persian mystic and central figure in the spiritual lineage of Sufism.
they appeared on earth their heads are like my head they have hands and feet i do too i ask for water they give me water they get what i mean from the movements of my mouth when i touch them they do not run away i ask them who they are we are people they say
microbe upon microbe ever shrinking mountain upon mountain ever growing with endless ants this never shrinking never growing me overflows __
The Dervish Ceremony
the trees have donned dervish cloaks & love now entreats oh master a different image this image within me endless stars stream to the sky within me i whirl the heavens whirl roses blooming on my skin in sun lit gardens trees halaka-ssemavati-vel’ard’h * in trees that have donned dervish cloaks snakes listen to the strains of the ney drowsy the children of the grass oh soul they are summoning you i look up at suns that have lost their way and laugh i fly the heavens fly
*He created both the heavens and the earth, The Qu’ran Surah Al-An’am
in my dreams i found you and i liked it there so much i never wanted to come out we’re in the depths now out on the expanses and the dream is me myself it is myself i see as i watch there inside me i have a pocket that is all dark from there spill toy suns gardens and seas and into my other pocket i slip them when i’m bored you, my most beautiful toy when my gardens no longer give me joy come and comfort me __
the colours have come from the sun the colours have passed into the sun the colours have died without the sun i have no need of any colour of no colour the suns have come from somewhere the suns have passed into somewhere the suns have died without anywhere i have no need of any light of any dark the shapes have come from somewhere the shapes have passed into somewhere the shapes have become unseeable beat on the big drum all sounds have drowned in one mansour mansouuuur
Asaf Halet Çelebi (1907–1958) was one of the most unique poets in Modern Turkish Poetry. He was one of the few intellectuals from the Republican era who managed to turn to both the East and West at the same time and his tiny oeuvre contains poems that, while modern, seem somewhat timeless and, like the paintings of the Douanier Rousseau, somewhat naïve. Çelebi was born in Istanbul in 1907. He studied at the famous Galatasaray High School and worked at Osmanlı Bankası (Ottoman Bank) and the state marine lines agency. He began his writing life by penning imitations of Ottoman Divan poety but from 1937 onwards, he began to experiment with freer forms of poetry and adapted styles and techniques from Western poetry. He incorporated themes and motifs from his extensive reading in Persian and Indian literature into his poetry. He also brought his deep knowledge of sufi thought and practice to bear on almost everything he wrote. Çelebi has always had many admirers but none have ever successfully imitated him.