A Sad Freedom

Nazim Hikmet

You sell the care of your eyes, the sight of your hands
You knead the dough of all earthly goods
        Without ever tasting a single bite.
With your great freedom you slave for others
With the freedom of turning into Croesus
        Those who make your mother weep
                You are free.

From the moment you are born they climb on your head
Their lie-mills grind endlessly throughout your life
With your great freedom, your finger pressed to your temple, you think
        With the freedom of conscience
                 You are free.

Your hanging head seems severed from your neck
Your arms are dropping at your sides
With your great freedom you roam around
        With the freedom of the jobless
                You are free.

You love your country as your dearest friend
Some day they sell it, perhaps to America,
And you too, with your great freedom.
        With the freedom of becoming an air base
                You are free.

Wall Street grabs at your throat - their hands be cursed -
Some day they send you to Korea perhaps.
With your great freedom you fill a grave...
        With the freedom of becoming the unknown soldier
                You are free.

I must live, not as a mere tool, a number, a means,
I must live like a man, you say
With your great freedom they fasten your handcuffs
With the freedom to be jeered, to be jailed, or even to be hanged
                You are free

No iron curtain, no wooden curtain, no lace curtain in your life
No need for you to choose freedom
                You are free.

This freedom is a sad thing under the stars.

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