ATAOL BEHRAMO

Ataol Behramo- (Turkey) graduated from the University of Ankara, Department of Russian Language and Literature in 1966. In 1970 he published his second book of verse"One Day Definitely". Reprinted many times until today, this collection of poems was well received as a synthesis of the poetic tradition of Nazim Hikmet (1902-1963) with elements of symbolism and surrealism. Between November 1972 and June 1974 he worked as a research assistant at Moscow State University Faculty of Russian Philology, Chair of Russian and Soviet Literature. His third book of poetry called" Poems of the Road, Longing, Courage and Struggle" was published in Turkey in 1974. With the return of democracy in Turkey he went back to his country and worked as a dramaturge at the Istanbul Municipal Theatre. At the time of the 70's other collections of poems came out:"Neither Rain...Nor Poems" (1976),"During the Siege" (1978),"The Epic of Moustapha Suphi" (1979),"Quatrains" (1980). Was arrested in March 1982 along with the other executive committee members of the Turkish Peace Association. Was kept under atrocious conditions in Maltepe Military Prison until November 1982, when they have conditionally been released. He was awarded the Lotus Prize by the Afro-Asian Writers Union in 1982. On November 1983, at the session of the Turkish peace Association Trial that he did not attend, he was sentenced to 8 years hard labor followed by 32 months internal exile. He had to leave his country. In 1984 he began in Paris to participate in the work of Sorbonne's National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations, at the Center for Comparative Poetry. Represented Turkey in the International Poetry Festival organized in Rotterdam. He published his collected poems in three volumes (1991-1992), continuously reedited. "Be Happy Nazım", a musical on the last period of life of Nazım Hikmet (Translated commented and prepared for the scene by A. Behramoğlu at the base of memories n. Hikmet's widow Vera Tulyakovs and the poems of N. Hikmet) was performed several times in Turkey and abroad. (1992)"Lozan", a documentary musical, commenting the historical events in Lozan afterwards the Independence War of Turkey was performed by the Turkish state Theatre in Antalya and in Istanbul (1993). He worked as the president of Turkish Writers Syndicate between 1995- 1999, and still in the literary and political critic at the cadre of daily"Cumhuriyet" since 1995. His poems are widely translated and published in several foreign languages. In 2003 he was awarded"The Great Prize of Poetry 2003" by Turkish International P.E.N.

ISTANBUL

I'm drawing an Istanbul on my breast
With my forefinger, butterfly-styled
Before the mirror as though I were a child
Face and hair I caress.

Of Kadikoy I recall some sort of seas
Of Shishli a solitary tram
Of Samatya, of Sultanahmet I am
Remembering the fig trees.

I'm drawing an Istanbul on my breast
With my forefinger, butterfly-styled
Look, I'm a little hopeless, a little tired
I think I like my eyes the best.
 


WHAT I LOST AMONG THE LILACS

Ah, those spring evenings so lovely
Joy on the far side of overwhelming realities
Horizons that daily recede like memories
The unsensed odor of lilacs all about me

The nights I madly played the mandolin
And you, my fairy of a child's fable
Love of my earliest dreams, unforgettable
That washed-clean, purified reflection

After the Ramadan cannons, the whistle I blew
In streets deserted and desolate
Ah, loneliness, beloved and great
Where are you?

I've lost among the lilacs a thing
Beautiful as never-lived remembrances
That cost me all joys, all brilliances
No, not even among the gods lingering



HARMONICA

I'm nuts about the whistle-blowing trains
In little stations, nights when it snows
Women smiling behind tulle curtains
I cling and pull myself up on the windows
I write a poem then sing a song
I sit there then and weep
Then do I blossom splendidly
Playing the harmonica in the street
Every night it rains in this city
And anew each night I'm dead and gone
Don't hide it, the train goes there
Say what you will, I'm getting on
 


BLACK SONG

Once more in that hour of darkness
In dark black waters they arise
Dark songs pass before their eyes
They lie awake gazing into darkness

The woman dark black hair
The man's hands dark black
Like whys without an answer back
The room, four sides, four black walls

A line with two ends in darkness
In the darkness they were deceived
Dark verses in darkness they conceived
And like two blacks were silent

In the most affirming places of their love
Suddenly they grew tired, out of breath
Little by little they felt the death
Of some places left in darkness


THEY WERE EYES

They were eyes, that kindled with mute sorrow
They were eyes, that made useless the words

They were eyes, impassioned, tender, anxious
They were eyes, mother, lover, friend

They were eyes, in a child's innocence
Like a heart, throbbing

They were eyes, that while gazing on the world
Rendered it brilliant with meaning

They were eyes, that embraced me with glances
They were eyes, for which I now hopelessly long

They were eyes, that are no more
They were eyes, that are forever gone

They were eyes, the eyes of my childhood
Who knows in what worlds they now are

Perhaps, on the trail of glass beads
In a girl's braided hair

And the eyes of my early youth
Searching for the first poems

Chasing after the first passions
And cloudy dreams


ROSES AND MATH

Mathematics are lovely as a summer day
To solve a problem and profound roses
The problem deep within a rose
Is as lovely as a glass of water

My mother's laugh and a back garden
In a child's voice the problem and a rose
In the world's turning on a summer day
A problem seeks to equal a rose


IN A SUMMER ONCE, THEY HAD BURIED ME

In a summer once, they had buried me
In a stillness that might be anywhere
There was a woman on a balcony
With a wounded rose in her voice

Life and the seasons were the same thing
While drowning in waters deep as sleep
Springtime came along stuttering
From the children's shattered laughter

The sea was just over there and its mist
As voices dissolved in the air
A spell by all things cast
Mysterious scents, sounds of mirth

In a summer once, they had buried me
In a silence that was my mother
It was her heart that bloomed, maybe
Within a deep rose


IN SECRET MY BELOVED

Even dreams wait for nighttime
To appear in secret
You are in my heart, in the thing hidden within me
In secret my beloved

Let no one know how sorrowful I am
I carry this feeling around like my death
In my life's most secret, secluded spots
There's a place where my beloved sleeps, in secret

In secret, my beloved, bitter as life
Like the longing that fires my soul yet
I yearn in the depths of annihilation
For my beloved. . . in secret
 


My Voice | Poetry In Our Time | In The Name Of Poetry | Editor's Choice | Our Masters
 
Who We Are | Back Issues | Submission | Contact Us | Home