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Turkish Poetry and Literature

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Ataol Behramoglu
1.       vineyards
1954 posts
 26 Apr 2007 Thu 07:18 pm

2.       slavica
814 posts
 27 Apr 2007 Fri 01:50 am

Once I’ve received this wonderful poem as a gift, and I’m really emotional about it.

Thanking vineyards for his effort (which must be a pleasure too), I’m enclosing two more translations of this poem – not for comparing, but as a proof that every translation is actually creation, the new poem made by translator on motives of translated poem.


I've learned some things from having lived:
If you're alive, experience one thing with all your power
Your beloved should be worn out from being kissed
And you should drop exhausted from the smelling of a flower

A person can gaze at the sky for hours
Can gaze for hours at a bird, a child, the sea
To live on the earth is to become part of it
To strike down roots that won't pull free

If you cling to anything, tightly hold a friend
Fight for something with every muscle, whole body, all your passion
And if you lay yourself for a time on the warm beach
Let yourself rest like a grain of sand, a leaf, a stone

To your utmost, listen to every beautiful song
As though filling all the self with sound and melody
One should plunge head-first into life
As one dives from a cliff into the emerald sea

Distant lands should draw you, people you don't know
To read every book, know other's lives, you should be burning
You shouldn't exchange for anything the pleasure of a glass of water
No matter how much the joy, your life should be filled with yearning

You should know sorrow, honorably, with all your being
Because the pains, like joys, make a person grow
Your blood should mingle in the great circulation of life
And in your veins life's endless fresh blood should flow

I've learned some things from having lived:
If you're alive, experience largely, merge with rivers, heavens, cosmos
For what we call living is a gift given to life
And life is a gift bestowed upon us

Translated by Walter Andrews


There is one thing I learned from what I lived:
When you live something, you must live it fully
Your lover must be exhausted from your kisses
You must be exhausted from smelling a flower

One can look at the sky for hours
One can look for hours at the sea, at a bird, at a child
Living on this world is being one with it
Growing unbreakable roots into it

When you hug your friend, you must do it with all your power
You must be in a fight with all your muscles, body and passion
And when you lie on the hot sand,
You must rest like a grain of sand, like a leaf, like a stone

One must listen to all the beautiful music
Such that the sounds, the melodies fill inside

One must dive headfirst into this life
Like diving from a rock into an emerald sea

People you don't know must attract you to distant lands
You must live with the desire to read all the books and to know all the lives
You must exchange nothing with the happiness of drinking a glass of water
But for all the happiness there is, you must be filed with the longing to live

And you must also live grief, with honor, with all your presence
Because grief also maturates one, like happiness
Your blood must be intermixed with the large circulation of life
The never ending, fresh blood of life must circulate in your veins

There is one thing I learned from what I lived:
When you live, you must live big, like being one with the rivers, the sky, and the whole universe
Because what we call lifetime is a gift presented to life
And life is a gift presented to you.

Translated by Süleyman Fatih Akgül
(taken from TC Turkish Poetry Pages)

3.       TeresaJana
304 posts
 27 Apr 2007 Fri 06:37 am

Fabulous! thanks for sharing

4.       aiça
 27 Apr 2007 Fri 10:37 am

It is really impressing how each translation gives a different shade of meaning... They let me get deeper into the Turkish poem and my own understanding of the original words. Thank you Slavica. And thank you Vineyards for your beautiful translation.

5.       Lone Wolf
17 posts
 27 Apr 2007 Fri 07:10 pm

Beautiful for sharing

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