“Hasretinden prangalar eskittim”, a poem by Ahmed Arif

March 4, 2007

Through my longing for you I have worn out fetters

Being able to tell about you,
To good guys and heroes.
Being able to tell about you,
To the disgraceful, rude
Filthy lie.

How many ice cold winters have passed?
The wolves sleep, the birds sleep, the dungeons sleep.
Outside life keeps going on, roaring…
Only I don’t sleep,
Damn, how many springtimes,
Have I, through my longing for you, worn out fetters?
Let me put bloodroses in your hairs,
Once on this side,
Then on that side…

Being able to scream you out,
Into bottomless pits,
To a falling star,
To somebody that reaches a matchstick
A matchstick that is fallen
On the most barren wave of an ocean.

To him who has lost the passion of first loves,
Who has lost the kisses,
Who shows no interest in the sudden dusk
Who dreams away over a cigarette and a drink
Being able to tell about you, to him…
Your absence is another word for hell
I’m cold, don’t close your eyes…

Hasretinden prangalar eskittim

Seni anlatabilmek seni.
İyi çocuklara, kahramanlara.
Seni anlatabilmek seni,
Namussuza, halden bilmez,
Kahpe yalana.

Ard- arda kaç zemheri,
Kurt uyur, kuş uyur, zindan uyurdu
Dışarda gürül- gürül akan bir dünya…
Bir ben uyumadım,
Kaç leylim bahar,
Hasretinden prangalar eskittim.
Saçlarına kan gülleri takayım,
Bir o yana
Bir bu yana…

Seni bağırabilsem seni,
Dipsiz kuyulara.
Akan yıldıza.
Bir kibrit çöpüne varana.
Okyanusun en ıssız dalgasına
Düşmüş bir kibrit çöpüne.

Yitirmiş tılsımını ilk sevmelerin,
Yitirmiş öpücükleri,
Payı yok, apansız inen akşamdan,
Bir kadeh, bir cigara, dalıp gidene,
Seni anlatabilsem seni…
Yokluğun, Cehennemin öbür adıdır
Üşüyorum, kapama gözlerini…

Ahmed Arif

ahmedarif1In this poem Ahmed Arif is talking about being imprisoned and yearning for a beloved. He shows signs of frustration about being locked up while the world keeps moving on. His unnamed beloved is his light at the end of the tunnel.

Ahmed Arif was born in Eastern Turkey in 1927. After finishing highschool in Diyarbakir he continued his studies in Ankara. His politcal views got him in jail twice. After his penitentiary adventures he started working for newspapers and magazines. He died in 1991.

His poetry was often published, but it was not until 1968 that his only book “hasretinden prangalar eskittim” (“Through my longing for you I have worn out fetters”, named after the poem) would be printed. It has been reprinted often since then (37th print in 1996). After his death his son published some more of his poetry (2003). Prior to that some of his letters were published (1992).

Ahmed Arif’s poetry is characterised by its lyrical and epic nature. He talks about rural life, with a rural language or about his experiences in jail.


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