Tears used to have power;
we were men loaded with river, following trains of salt;
the dream would be revealed by the traces left by water drops in our shadow,
as the fetters of salt would come undone in water.

We would be ashamed, acquit ourselves of staying too long in the city;
we would consult the rain: how do we return home eastward bound?
how do we build a lantern out of our bones and fumigate
the purple bees of night when they come out of their hive?

If the night is barren: stars in our hair and rain once more in the eyes,
the lanterns burning like a yellow slice of time
(the candle burns, the oil wraps, the mud mummifies the soil),
the thorns hurt by the rose are as wounds in the blood…
a poor and native rumour behind us…

So we used to march out of range like fervent crops.
Wheat could become nothing but flour;
we were born by women cracking wheat,
those sages of crumb painting the sun gold on the stone,
our mothers with their cracked soles on roofs facing the moon,
our hot vineyard, smiling corn, pious onion shoots;
those soles, oh those soles and the way we deserted bricks…

Red earth and coarse hay, God’s mortar
used to offer a yellow intimacy to cool homes
with the power of tears;
the rain would pass through the windows like a prayer;
an orphan would survive on what the had to offer…

What I mean to say is that,
tears used to have power.

Translated by Sehnaz Tahir




I even reached the far end of loneliness,
the dagger of grief towers over my back,
a permanent threat it keeps me walking
without ever stabbing me.
I don’t know why I set out on this way,
there must be a starting point to this state;
after all, I too have been winnowed from a batch,
without ever settling I fluttered after the illusion called woman.

Yet in actual fact it was life’s coquetry that beguiled me.
Still, I can’t say that these deep thoughts served me anyhow.
The mudbricks I made from
the essential mud that I cut by meridians
dry in my marrows, its pain licks my face.

Oh, what farewell, what plague, what sin is this!
I cannot simply walk away anymore,
I cannot but be scattered away
with my dust-gushing mind and memory
May these poems now end, this book, this world-show.
If illusion is the murderer of a man
his corpse will not be washed to any shore.




In the steppes man is a sign of grief,
a tree loaded with imagery,
swaying in the unpassable valley;
in his wake is destruction,
corpses that stalk the flesh.
When the day comes and man
goes out into the steppe
he will take a deep breath
and look at himself,
look at the very heart of every being:
On his face an incessant rain,
he sets off for God’s forsaken home.

Forsaken a long time since,
timeless a long time since,
not even the slightest last reverberating hum
of divine punishment and clemency can be heard.

When man goes out into the steppes, he asks why,
why God cares so little about us.

Man is a cloud of dust in his steppes.




The sun is one of my far-flung places.
I recognized my heart in an map of islands –
God, is wasn’t beating! The spectrum and the ladder
each ensured I had not escaped
the orders of my imagination.
I must have walked into the dark: through a useless crowd.
Pity me, quietly looking at the water,
still not having set foot on the island of my heart.

To the islands, to prove our courage
in a hopeless siege!
dream until we reach the sun:
our dreams will be our bread!

Translated by Gökçenur Ç with Ricchard Gwyn and W.N.Herbert




The more you travel the more cities you will find within yourself
The markets you have hidden in your memory will reveal your shadow
From the dead hours off past summers
Your wandering mind will catch up with you
Your dreams will again try to convince you
That you have no choice but to pursue them

All you see appears old, all you touch ungraspable
Just as when you first longed for something
You who were not born for the sake of being born
When, like a letter from away, you arrive in any city
Don’t stop, keep seeking why people die of love

Go from one end of your solitude to the other
On the steppe, in cities crossed by rivers
See if there is a child who wants to flow into the open sea
Who wonders why God cannot even make a paper ship

You paid your dues,
You felt a pure melancholy in parks,
You asked if there was a right time to cry in the squares,
You arrived at their meeting place before the lovers.

As the cities inside you call you to the ports of memory
You know that you will die continually
That’s how this love of wandering starts, that’s how it ends
A non-existent ship sets sail on a non-existent sea

Maybe you understand at last, Adnan, it’s like staying silent,
One day in Şardağı, another in a Amazonia.
How much more emptiness you will find within yourself,
You who were not born for the sake of being born,
Shall write what no traveller has written before;

Let God decide whether He exists or not…

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