By Nail: V.,
Translated by Donny Smith
sleep’s vanished like a customer skipping out on a bill.
On my mind:
pale as processed wax
bloodless as candles.
living in a pen
sheep for the sacrifice
their peasant birth on their shoulders a torment,
loaded down with human existence a grotesque pain
half alive, half dead
a herd of peasants
p e a s a n t s . . . . . .
borçlu bir müşteri gibi kaçırdım uykumu!
işlenmiş bir balmumu,
bir ağılda yaşıyan,
omuzlarında köylü doğmaklığın azabını,
İnsan olmaklığın acaip ıstırabını taşıyan,
yarı diri, yarı ölü
bir sürü köylü
Nail V. (Nail Vahdeti Çakırhan) was born in 1910 in a town south of Muğla in southwestern Turkey. He published the joint poetry collection 1 + 1 = Bir with Nâzım Hikmet in 1930. He was arrested various times because of his poetry. In 1934, he secretly emigrated to the Soviet Union to study, but was forced back to Turkey in 1937. He spent four years in prison because of his publications. He later became an architect, winning the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1983. He died in Muğla in 2008.
Donny Smith’s books of translations include Pigeonwoman / Üvercinka by Cemal Süreya (with A. Karakaya), I Too Went to the Hunt of a Deer by Lâle Müldür, and If Cutting Off the Head of the Gorgon by Wenceslao Maldonado. He teaches at a high school in Istanbul.