Poetry – Two Poems By Turgut Uyar – “One Day, Early In The Morn” And “By The Thousands”

Harmony Cardenas

In the spirit of gratitude to the masters that have gone before us, and in the hopes of helping inject a moment’s worth of tranquility and reflection into a world that desperately needs some, I hereby present two poems by Turgut Uyar – one of the best poets who ever wrote in Turkish.


by Turgut Uyar

Let’s say I knock on your door early one morning,

And wake you up:

That is, the fog still hasn’t lifted off the Golden Horn

The ferry boats are blowing off their horns

It’s still the wee hours of the dawn

The bridge would still be up.

If I knock on your door one day early in the morn’ …

Let’s say my trip has taken me a while

The train has crossed over iron bridges in the night

Villages on top of the mountains with five or ten houses,

Telegraph poles along the route

They were running to keep up with us.

Let’s say I sang songs out from the window

Let’s say I kept dozing off and waking up again

My ticket was third class,

So much for poverty.

Let’s say I couldn’t afford that meerschaum necklace,

So I bought you an apple from Sapanca.

“Haydarpasa here I come,” is how I arrived

The ferry boat shimmering at the pier,

Somewhat of a chill in the air,

The sea smelling tar and fishes

Let’s say I crossed to the other side with a row boat from the bridge

In a single breath I climbed up our hill…

If I knock on your door in the wee hours of one morn’

“Who is it?” you’d ask sleepily from the other side

Your hair mussed up, still feeling groggy

God knows how beautiful you’d look my love,

If I knock on your door early one morning,

And wake you up from your sleep,

That is, the fog still hasn’t lifted off the Golden Horn

The factory whistles are blowing.

(translated from Turkish by Ugur Akinci)

# # #


by Turgut Uyar

Thousands of Mondays have passed from my life

Which one was it, I can’t tell

I just remember eating a cherry with a worm inside

That means it’s pretty old

And also all the stuff that doesn’t make sense

The lower part of a girl’s knee, for instance

And the ugly way a guy was smoking a cigarette

How one lives in this world under tutelage

Which crazies withstand this and how

It’s not my business to figure out anybody’s lineage

Shaping up my own story is enough for me

A beautiful afternoon

While remembering a beautiful old evening

Then things filled to the brim

Like the water-jugs

My insides well up

This should have an end, I say

But an end to what?

To these stone steps at least

(translated from Turkish by Ugur Akinci)


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