On the Birth Centenary of Nazim Hikmet


This country shaped like the head of a mare
Coming full gallop from far off Asia
To stretch into the Mediterranean
                                This country is ours.

Bloody wrists, clenched teeth, bare feet,
Land like a precious silk carpet
This hell, this paradise is ours.
Let the doors be shut that belong to others,
Let them never open again
Do away with the enslaving of man by man
                                This plea is ours

To live! Like a tree alone and free
Like a forest in brotherhood
                                This yearning is ours!


The Enemies

They are the enemies of the towel weaver Rejep from Bursa
the enemies of the fitter Hasan from the Karabuk factory.
They are the enemies of the poor peasant woman Matcheh
the enemies of the farmhand Suleyman.
They are your enemies, my enemies,
the enemies of every thinking man.
Our fatherland, which is the home of these people,
they are, my beloved, the enemies of our fatherland.
They are the enemies of hope, my beloved,
the enemies of the running water
of the fruit-laden tree,
of a growing and improving life.
For death has put its stamp upon their foreheads
– decaying teeth, rotten flesh –
They will tumble down and go away
never to come back again.
And surely, my beloved, surely,
in this beautiful country, Liberty
will walk around freely
will walk around in its most glorious outfit
in workingman’s overalls.



That Is The Question

All the wealth of the earth cannot quench their thirst
They want to make a lot of money
You have to kill, you have to die
For them to make a lot of money.

No doubt they don’t admit it openly
They hang up colourful lanterns on the dry branches
They send running on the roads glittering lies
Their tails all covered with tinsel and spangles.

In the market-place they are beating the drums;
Under the tents, the tiger-man, the mermaid, the headless-man,
The acrobats in pink shorts on the straight wire,
All have heavily made-up faces.

To be duped or not to be duped
                That is the question.
If you are not duped you will live
If you are duped you will not.


Nazim Hikmet

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