Monday, December 13, 2010

Sevginin Kağıdı

Ne zaman senle olurum, ben hem sakin hem de heyecanlı hissederim.
Ne zaman sensiz olurum, kalbim karmakarışıktır, fakat bu duyguyu severim.
Ben sana tatlı bir şey söylemek isterim, ama sözlerim acemidir.
Bu sözler gariptir, fakat duygularım değil.
Bu cümleler gençtir, fakat duygularım olgun.
Sen sözlerimden beni anlayacak mısın?
Ya da daha çok sözlerimi mi anlayacaksın?

Epilogue: My Turkish is improving, but don't think I sat down and wrote this in 10 minutes without an English-Turkish dictionary, and don't think I didn't ask my Turkish friend to help me with some of the grammar. But do note, especially for those who can read Turkish, that I wanted this to sound like Turkish is not my mother tongue. The idea started when I noticed the moments in my Turkish students' writing when they make word choices or pairings that a native English speaker would never make, and the result is poetic. The subject of my poem is a love note, one whose words are awkward and immature because the poet cannot fully express herself in this other language, though she feels her feelings are not awkward or immature. When I asked my Turkish friend to help me with the grammar, I specifically asked her not to fix everything, as I want the poem to sound as if Turkish is not my language, as it is not, and this is what I truly sound like when I speak it. But I also hope that in my awkwardness, like my students' writing in English, some figurative qualities emerge. I will write an English translation below, but know that this quality will not come across in the English version, as English is my mastered language.

Love Note

When I am with you, I am both calm and excited.
When I am without you, my heart is in utter disarray, but I like the feeling.
I want to say something sweet to you, but my words are awkward.
These words are strange, but my feelings not.
These sentences are young, but my feelings mature.
Will you understand me from my words?
Or will you understand my words more?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Küçük Zamanlar

Prologue: When, finally, you're sitting on the bus waiting for it to take you home, and the muses send you thoughts first in Turkish, after all these months of lessons, hope your pen is nearby.

Küçük Zamanlar
Tango pratik yok, ama
çiçekler var.
Okulu sevmedim, ama
Duygu ile konuşmayı sevdim.
Küçük zamanlar büyüktür.
Ah, şimdi varolan rüyaları yazmak!

Small Times
There is no tango practice, but
there are flowers.
I didn’t enjoy school, but
I loved talking with Duygu.
Small times are large.
Oh, to write dreams that exist right now!

April, 2010
Ankara, Turkey

Response to Christina Rosetti’s “Song”

When I am dead, my dearest,
unhinge the case to my viola.
Rest your chin upon its mahogany,
and pull the horse hair across:

“Beautiful dreamer, dream unto me.”

You will not remember how-
with a shallow and fast bow-
I played the same for my father.

I shall not cringe at your shaky tone;
I shall not turn away;
I shall not hear the music
of the stirred female hearts.

I may skip and twirl instead
to a memory, and dream no more
of this beautiful dream, now dreamt unto me.

September, 2009
Merano, Italy