Boşuna by Aziz Nesin

March 6, 2007


You are not here
It’s pointless for the rain to fall
For we will not be soaked together

It’s pointless that this river
Is swirling and murmuring
For we will not be sitting at its bank to see it

Growing longer as they go
It’s pointless for the roads to tire themselves
For we will not be walking together

Yearnings and separations are also pointless
For we are at such great distances
That we will not be crying together

I love you and it’s pointless
My life is pointless
For we will not be sharing life together


Sen yoksun
Boşuna yağıyor yağmur
Birlikte ıslanmayacağız ki
Boşuna bu nehir
Çırpınıp pırpırlanması
Kıyısında oturup göremeyeceğiz ki
Uzar uzar gider
Boşuna yorulur yollar
Birlikte yürüyemeyeceğiz ki
Özlemler de ayrılıklar da boşuna
Öyle uzaklardayız
Birlikte ağlayamayacağız ki
Seviyorum seni boşuna
Boşuna yaşıyorum
Yaşamı bölüşemeyeceğiz ki

Aziz Nesin

Boşuna (literally “for nothing”)  means “to no avail”. I chose pointless because it captures the meaning pretty well. It is repeated often throughout the poem. I had to construct some less conventional sentences in the translation to be able to use pointless in all instances. So, the more accurate translation is: “The rain falls to no avail” etc.

Each triplet of verses ends with “we will not…”, however in the original Turkish poem only the first triplet ends with “we will not…”, the should actually be translated as “we will not be able to…”. For the sake of aesthetics I chose to keep the translation simple.

A challenging verse in translating was “Çırpınıp pırpırlanması”. Çırpınmak can be understood in different ways: making a sound like çırp çırp…, so basically the mixing of a fluid. However it can also mean “to struggle (with death)”. Pırpırlamak is a very strange word. It is reminiscent of pırıldamak and parlamak, meaning “to glitter” and “to shine”, but it is also an onomatopoeia, hence “murmur”.


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