I am past the age mother died
though the loyalty of waters and pain
--and sure enough the sky
are my children

I am at the age father died
though nostalgia, longing
--and sure enough loneliness
are my friends

Let the winds write my love

But my heart is still
at the age my son fell in love
--Though love's compass
has sure enough turned into memories

Two pigeons, oh my life
perched on the shoulders of the years
one life, the other death
sure enough is what I've lived

One is Refik, the other Durbas in fact

Translated by Suat Karantay


My hands have a gift for art master 
My language for cursing, my heart for pain 
Is death all I get 
All I get master?

Which way is love master 
Which way is grief 
Is solitude all I get 
All I get master!

Which way is away master 
Which way is home 
Is longing all I get 
All I get master

Translated by Sehnaz Tahir

Refik Durbaş (1944, Erzurum) completed his elementary through high school education in Izmir. He started studying at the Department of Turkish Language and Literature at Istanbul University, but did not complete his studies. He started working as a labourer and street vendor. He published the journals Evrim (1962-64) and Alan 67 (1967). He was editor-in-chief of the journal Yeni A. He is currently a journalist. His first poems were published in the newspaper Ege Ekspres. He has also been published in journals such as Papirüs, Şiir Sanatı and Soyut. His poems have been translated into many languages and also set to music. He is a poet of the 1960’s generation. Working within a socialist perspective, using daily, conversational language, he writes about the worlds of common people. Some of his books of poetry include: Kuş Tufanı/Bird Flood (1971), Hücremde Ay Işığı/Moonlight in My Cell (1974), Çırak Aranıyor/Apprentice Wanted (1978), Çaylar Şirketten/The Tea Is On Us (1980), Nereye Uçar Gökyüzü/Where Does the Sky Fly (1983), Siyah Bir Acıda/In Black Pain (1983), Geçti mi Geçen Günler/Have the Past Days Passed (1989), Menzil/Range (1992), Düşler Şairi/Poet of Dreams (1997), Hatıram Olsun/A Keepsake From Me (2000), Şimdi: Haberler/Now: The News (2001), Rüya Tabirleri/Interpretation of Dreams (2004) and kırk dört sıfır dört/forty four zero four (2007).