Two Poems

Neşe Yasιn, born in 1959, lives in south Nicosia and teaches in the Department of Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cyprus.  She writes in Turkish, but her poetry and non-fiction have been translated and published on both sides of the border. As well as an academic she is involved with Turkish-speaking women's support groups, and is a long-standing peace activist.

The light rising inside me

Who knows perhaps
while you shot from the barricades
killing our house
I used to mellow into childish sadness
deaths passing through my deep sighs

I knew back then
one day you would steal my soul

While I ran off to the spaces between stairs
crying over family murders
it whispered dreams of the future
the light rising inside me

Three angels appeared
one brought a red poppy
the second a gentle kiss from you
the third was empty handed
looked into my face embarrassed

And then the ghosts of martyrs
chased me in their blood soaked clothes
my history teacher
read out lies at the gates of Heaven

I waited such a long long time for you
in the desolate Babylon towers

Take off your soldier’s clothes
and come close to me
give me three babies from the souls of the dead
One to make me forget all pain
the other to console the earth
the third to wander the city in the night
and hold crying mothers by the hand

The Big Word

When the poem utters the big word
all the weapons will hush at once
the word that is the voice of
the spilled blood and the cry of suffering
the word that's uttered by the chorus of the dead
and by the exiled crowds of history.

It will be whispered by the flower
the weeping cloud in the sky
the rapturous waves of the sea
and the children who do not want
to join the army.

That day, a new love will emerge
from the foam of the sea
that is indistinct in nationality.

War will die of shame
as silence starts taking revenge on history
and the magic words
will kiss the wind of love.

If being disloyal to a half
will bring me the whole native land
your nationalism will be a cuckold's egg
I shall betray you
even with your bloody armies after me
I shall make love with all the enemies
I shall betray you
on all the continents of this earth.

When the poem utters the big word
all the deals and negotiations
will come to an end with nothing left to say
all the mediators will be unemployed.

History will surrender
under that big word which carries
the stars and the rivers
the endless lovemaking of all times
the sounds, the rain, and the seas.

When the big word
will be uttered by the poem

either all the poets will be executed
or peace will descend on earth.

Translated from the Turkish by Aydın Mehmet Ali,
September 2004

Aydın Mehmet Ali was born in Cyprus, has lived most of her life in London and recently returned to Cyprus. She is an international education consultant, project manager, researcher as well as an award winning author. Her short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies. Her publications include a short story collection, Pink Butterflies/Bize Dair (2005).