I begin my journey at dawn with my horse
As the large morning bird wakes.
I keep quiet, like a moon grown heavy.
Before me, rain of unknowable age,
Flowers on the far side of a thousand years.
Last night, last night I saw in my dream
That I was sundered from my coal-eyes love.
I broadcast my passion on the night with my hands.
It snows for me in the mountains.
I swirl fog in with the autumn trees.
I turn and look back at the river that has released me to my journey,
The knife that tests differences.
I winnow the grain of my blood,
And not a thing comes to me to say.
I've begun my journey at dawn with my horse, with my horse.
The huma birds sing in the tulips and the hyacinths.
Hunters begin to climb into the mountains,
Early early in the morning, on narrow roads.
They drape the flanks of their horses with silver ornaments,
And bejeweled rifles hang from their shoulders.
They carry enough wine for the evening,
When they'll see eagles watching them, like men.
I sprinkled the snow of my youth over hearth and home
After my horse and I had passed beyond Crimea.
I leave you this bridle of dreams for your neck.
I cross the Aksu bridge with a talkative bee.
When rain falls in the ditch, dawn brings dignity.
Among the gillyflowers, the morning sky combs your hair.
Above, great birds assemble for their dance of praise.
The frenzy of the forest grows with the chirr of the cicadas.
The black thorns of the sun divide my weariness.
The feathers of the stream gather over the thinning voice of my pain.
My life's sovereign weed sings ballads with a flock of birds.
If it is our destiny, we will sleep tonight in Maras.
I saw a caravansary with a hundred and sixty doors.
Some we opened, some we tied shut, star with the slanting eyebrow.
In my dreamtime, nightingales sing in golden cages,
And greyhounds wear sky-jewels from the heavens we call to.
The lover is sprawled in the bewildered flood of grass.
With her wheaten complexion and tangled locks,
She said, Don't leave, stay with me in the house of the firefly.
The apple tree was gathering flowers for curtains.
The garden plucked the rose of her hair.
We drank wine from the pristine day's glass pitcher.
After the western wind entered our sleep,
Pigeons came in, and swans and cranes,
As though migrating from the Toros mountains.
Sleeping, I would not believe in dreams.
I woke and cried.
I was still very drunk.
Melih Cevdet Anday was born in Istanbul in 1915. During a career that spanned six and a half decades, Anday published eleven collections of poems, eight plays, eight novels, fifteen collections of essays, a book of memoirs—he also won all of Turkey's major poetry prizes. He wrote several novels as well as translated several books into Turkish. In 1971, UNESCO honored him—along with such giants like Shakespeare, Dante, Tolstoy, and Cervantes. His works have been translated into Russian, German, Hungarian, Romanian and English.
Sidney Wade is the author of five collections of poetry: Stroke (2008), Celestial Bodies (2002), Empty Sleeves (1990); Green (1998); and Istanbul’dan/From Istanbul (1998), which was published in Turkish and English by Yapi Kredi Yayinlari, Istanbul. A widely renowned translator, she is also the poetry editor of Subtropics. Efe Murad is the cotranslator, along with Sidney Wade, of a selection of the poems of Melih Cevdet Anday.