Tuesday, December 11, 2007



Will my funeral start out from our courtyard?
How will you get me down from the third floor?
The coffin won’t fit in the elevator,
and the stairs are awfully narrow.

Maybe there’ll be sun knee-deep in the yard, and pigeons,
maybe snow filled with the cries of children,
maybe rain with its wet asphalt.
And the trash cans will stand in the courtyard as always.

If, as is the custom here, I’m put in the truck face open,
a pigeon might drop something on my forehead: it’s good luck.
Band or no band, the children will come up to me—
they’re curious about the dead.

Our kitchen window will watch me leave.
Our balcony will see me off with the wash on the line.
In this yard I was happier than you’ll ever know.
Neighbors, I wish you all long lives.

April 1963

--Nazim Hikmet, trans. from the Turkish by
Randy Blasing, Mutlu Konuk

Ay Nazim, you left us with a few thousand indelible treasures, word beats, nostalgias for Ramazan Night and the long train journeys through the countries of your exile, with Vera “ straw-blond eyelashes blue.”
Nazim, you kept me company nursing my poems with infinite patience writing your human landscapes on scraps of paper in the jail cells.
Nazim, you taught me that the heart thinks and bleeds and the metaphor is the heart thinking and bleeding.
Nazim, let there always be commerce between us.