By Ahmet Haşim,
Translated by Donny Smith
Stars and moon inundate a tired stretch of trees
and metallic clouds swarm upon these new deeps
while birds rush to prey
on the celestial bodies there.
Nücûm u mâhı dökülmüş semânın eşçâra,
Melûl manzaralar şimdi bir gümüşlü sehâb;
Derin sulardaki ecrâmı avlayan kuşlar
Eder havâlî-i pür-nûr-ı mâhtâba şitâb..
Ahmet Haşim was born in Baghdad in 1887 to an old Ottoman family. In 1898, he was sent to Istanbul to learn Turkish and receive a good Ottoman education. He became interested in French and Ottoman poetry at the Sultanî (Galatasaray) High School and published his first poem in 1901. After graduating in 1907, he held various low-level bureaucratic and teaching posts. During World War I, he was a reserve officer and inspector in the Ottoman Army. After discharge, he again had to accept various low-level posts, mostly in education. His first poetry collection, Göl Saatleri (Lake Hours), was published in 1921 and his second collection, Piyale (Wineglass), in 1926. He traveled to Paris and Frankfurt a few times, mostly for medical care. He died in Istanbul in 1933. He is often cited as a forebear by Turkish poets today.
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.