ATAOL BEHRAMOGLU

-Ataol Behramoglu-(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 Kadlkoy I recall some Soft 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



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's 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


POEM ON A CHILD'S DREAM

In a child's dream always
There is a lost beloved
The rag and bone man stole her
Unexpectedly toward evening

The coolness of the fields comes
Lights on the forehead of a child
And so, while they sleep, the foreheads Of
children are white and taut

Your childhood too is a relative
Of summer gardens and apples
The dust has risen of a late afternoon
From the slope over by the graveyard

A lost love always 
Resembles a lost marble
Its glitters recalled
In barely visible tears

In a child's dream at times
A vanished marble is found The
cherry trees sway
Pigeons rise in a flock to the sky


I'VE FORGOTTEN HOW MY MOTHER'S FACE LO

I've forgotten how my mother's face looked I've
forgotten how my mother's voice sounded Let
nighttime be a blanket made of memories Let me
throw it over my black heart

I've forgotten how my mother laughed I've
forgotten how she was when she cried Let life
rock me in her arms
I am her tiny little son

I've forgotten how my mother's hands were
I've forgotten how her eyes were when she gazed Let
the wind bring the scent of dry grass
While the rain falls ever so gently


THE SONG OF TIME PASSING

The wheels they spin spin yes they spin
They spin yes they spin days of my youth

The belts they pass pass yes they pass They
pass yes they pass days of my youth

And time it flows flows yes it flows
They flow yes they flow days of my youth

The world it spins spins yes it spins
They spin yes they spin days of my youth

The days they pass pass yes they pass They
pass yes they pass days of my youth

The days they flow flow yes they flow They
flow yes they flow days of my youth

The wheels they spin spin yes they spin They
spin yes they spin days of my youth

The belts they pass pass yes they pass They
pass yes they pass days of my youth

And time it flows flows yes it flows
They flow yes they flow days of my youth



PREGNANT WOMAN'S SONG

Weather's chill, God damn it all
Detergent's cracked my hands so sore As
if three kids were not enough This next
one makes it four

Wash the risers, light the stove, and throw the trash away Does the
fault belong with me or that man of mine, what say?

Oh mama, he kicks me hard He'll
pierce my gut, I fear Come on babe,
do you suppose It's all holidays out here?

To the grocer's, wash the clothes, and throw the trash away Does the
fault belong with me or that man of mine, what say?

Okay ma'am, I'm on my way
God willing, you'll go dumb
I've had it, Lord. It's snow's storm On
the peaks of Erzurum

Wash the dishes, cook the food, and throw the trash away Does the
fault belong with me or that man of mine, what say?

Weather's chill, God damn it all
Detergent's cracked my hands so sore As
if three kids were not enough 1his next one makes it four

ENGLAND:

WITH DYLAN THOMAS

Above the Thames
On a suspension bridge
As September ran
Its fingers
Through my hair;
It were no surprise
If! had met up
With Dylan Thomas.


IN LONDON

I could have died
Of grief in London
If grief
Did not suit this city so

 


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