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Morning Tea and Other Poems— Sabahattin Kudret Aksal

Apr 19, 2023 | Poetry | 0 comments

TRANSLATED FROM THE TURKISH BY NEIL P. DOHERTY

 

Morning Tea

 

 

This Morning

I

The sun stirred in your eyes and you awoke

A bird in one palm, blue in the other

II

The map of your city, all of its streets

There on the ceiling where the sunlight plays

III

A tree where the roof ends, shamelessly

The sky starts where the tree ends

IV

As you walk look at the sky, fly away in the sky

The days scattering in the suns

 

 


 

Crows

I

The crow resumes his solitude

There on the asphalt

All alone

II

He is reticent

Because he is mortal

Though he chatters on and on

Because he is mortal

III

A crow’s weight:

The sum from night till morning

Of all my weight

IV

A sun pitch black as his feathers

Warms him

In the glittering rain

V

From my sleep

Into my waking he flies

VI

Exquisite flowers of my eyes:

Crows

VII

Outlandish like all syllables

Like all orphans

VII

And on a long long line

He scuttles back and forth

IX

The crow that knocks on night’s door

Will trace circles of light

In the dark

X

Eyes fixed

Why do you stare at me

One light is not like another

XI

Whirling around the room

Tearing into the walls, ceilings

Shrieking

XII

All night medieval crows in my dreams

XIII

A sunlit street

Though just look

It may not be so bright

XIV

A Crowless morning:

Geometric

XV

Out of the tiny windows of the huge towers

Spill clouds of crows

 


 

Anaximenes

Towards morning he died, Anaximenes the sage,

His wife, having waiting all night by his bed,

Looked to see an old sun, hidden in his hand

 


 

Morning Tea

I drink my morning tea

In the coffeehouse across from their place

The window I pass

Is her window, the stars standing out

Against the blue sky, are hers too.

There’s no telling when I’ll be released from this longing

Perhaps they’ll still have a lot more call on me,

This window, these stars

And this morning tea

 


 

School

Up, open your eyes to the morning

The air is heavy with rain so

Pull on your galoshes, wind your

Scarf around your neck and leave

As if you were wrapped in dream,

The door of the school is big but

Go right through to the

Centre of the class and sit

Down, the brazier has just been lit

Giving off that smell of coal

That you will never, ever forget.

 


 

In My Sleep

I heard your voice in my sleep all night long

The tap of Time, it seems, had been left on.

 


 

The Loneliness of an Animal

1

The loneliness of an animal he says and says nothing more,

Just looks up at the yellow cat there on the wall.

2
With the sky the cat lives, skyless. Climbs the tree, treeless.

Sleeps in a cupboardless cupboard.

Jumps up onto the table and candlessly scratches it back on the candle.

 


 

Unable to Write Poems

Don’t even try

You can’t write poems

When the sky is this blue

And the sea

Is right there beside you

 


Also, read Two Hindi Poems by Mohan Rana, translated from The Hindi by Moulinath Goswami, and published in The Antonym:

Two Hindi Poems— Mohan Rana


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Sabahattin Kudret Aksal

Sabahattin Kudret Aksal

Sabahattin Kudret Aksal (1920-1993); poet, short story writer and playwright. His first poem was published in the hugely important Varlık literary journal in 1938. He went on to publish some eleven collections of poetry, two well respected books of short stories and several plays. He won many awards for his writing and although his early poetry shows the influence of the Garip/Strange movement it could be said that he ploughed his own course through a long writing life. His poems are marked by a fresh and almost childlike astonishment at the beauty of the world.

Neil P. Doherty

Neil P. Doherty

Neil P. Doherty is a translator born in Dublin, Ireland in 1972 who has resided in Istanbul since 1995. He currently teaches in 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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