MELİH CEVDET ANDAY
(1915 - 2002)

COPPER AGE

A raven crowed without knowing why.
Faster. On a pine tree which must wait.
Our familiar summer arrived on one wing,
Not even weary, inept and lonesome.
Let's make believe we see for the first time,
Not to upset the rule. Faster.

Thinking is half of speed.
Faster. Summer should come sooner,
Winter sooner, mid-month and the child.
Concerts and ulcers, love and govenunent
And balding, the clock should run faster
So must death... Faster.

Death is nature's being one-eyed.
Graves should be dug round. Faster.
Dead men were rotund in the copper age.
We must call loneliness nature's timidity
And death the effort to affirm the self, oh
The fear of being forgotten. Faster.

Speed is half of nature, the other half
Is death. Which means faster.
Like summer it comes without knowing why.
We must die as if it's the first time,
Not to upset the rule. Faster.
We must stall.

Nature is half of man.
Death is all of speed. Today or tomorrow.
One might just as soon die today. Faster, better too.
You might have died yesterday.
            - Yesterday a hot wind blew,
Remember, the kids went to the movies,
My morning tea toppled on the tablecloth.

Today and tomorrow are the same,
Either a hot wind blows or the tea topples.
Why are you looking at the kids, they might all die.
Peace and war are one.
Nature and man are the same.
Speed and death are one.

A raven crowed without knowing why.
On top of a pinetree which must wait.
Nothing matters except the laws, said somebody,
Man does not concern me, never magnify death.
Someone bewildered about summer's arrival
Asked himself if life is guilt.


Translated by Talat S. Halman

In the Sun

The hours are short, they can't hold everything,
they dissolve in the sun and slip away.
As the maize struggles to grow, the farmer
silently worries about the drought.
Birds are quiet, wild olive-trees heavy, a goat.
A car passed on the narrowing road,
somebody waved, perhaps someone we know,
perhaps not - an image of transience.
The balcony ivy quivered with the screams
of children in the weary age of the sea,
the hours are short, one moment can't hold
sea, the geranium, daydreaming all in one.
Wind swept the fishermen's boats away
to the swordfish far out, we can never know
in what abyss they impregnate the sea
as they head gravely east.
Just now the cat and dog
caught a whiff of soup from the stove.
Books on the shelf, a blue glass bottle, the rose
stayed separate, frozen.
A picture on the wall of a crowded village square,
of children, a hoop of time.
How Breughel brought them together here,
harmonious partners, but the hours are short and have no more room.
Everything dissolves away in the sun.

Translated by Ruth Christie


Letter from a Dead Friend

I live like before
I stroll about, thinking.
I get on the ferry or the train alone
without a ticket,
I go shopping but don't haggle.
I stay home at nights, relaxed, at peace.
(I can always open the window if I'm bored)
But ah -- every now and then I want
to scratch my head, to pick a flower,
to shake a hand.

Translated by Ruth Christie


Consolation

When I'm dead no one will believe
that once I saw and heard
just like them.
And even readers of Yunus Emre won't believe
that my tongue spoke;
I don't think photographs of me will prove a thing.

But those who've seen me ~:et off the ferry
or jump on the tram,
or remember me taking off my hat
they cannot possibly deny I lived.

Translated by Ruth Christie