Tag Archives: listening

Orhan Veli – Istanbul’u dinliyorum – I am listening to Istanbul

by Orhan Veli (1914- 1950) – English translation by Murat Nemet-Nejat from  I, Orhan Veli

I am listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed
First a breeze is blowing
And leaves swaying
Slowly on the trees;
Far, far away the bells of the
Water carriers ringing,
I am listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed
A bird is passing by,
Birds are passing by, screaming, screaming,
Fish nets being withdrawn in fishing weirs,
A woman’s toe dabbling in water,
I am listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed.

I am listening,
The cool Grand Bazaar,
Mahmutpasha twittering
Full of pigeons,
Its wast courtyard,
Sounds of hammering from the docks,
In the summer breeze far, far away the odor of sweat,
I am listening.

I am listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed
The drunkenness of old times
In the wooden seaside villa with its deserted boat house
The roaring southwestern wind is trapped,
My thoughts are trapped
Listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed
A coquette is passing by on the sidewalk,
Curses, sings, sings, passes;
Something is falling from your hand
To the ground,
It must be a rose.
I am listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed
A bird is flying round your skirt;
I know if your forehead is hot or cold
Or your lips are wet and dry;
Or if a white moon is rising above the pistachio tree
My heart’s fluttering tells me…
I am listening to Istanbul.

(Original poem)

İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı
Önce hafiften bir rüzgar esiyor
Yavaş yavaş sallanıyor
Yapraklar, ağaçlarda;
Uzaklarda, çok uzaklarda,
Sucuların hiç durmayan çıngırakları
İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı

İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı
Kuşlar geçiyor, derken
Yükseklerden, sürü sürü, çığlık çığlık.
Ağlar çekiliyor dalyanlarda
Bir kadının suya değiyor ayakları
İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı

İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı
Serin serin Kapalıçarsı
Cıvıl cıvıl Mahmutpaşa
Güvercin dolu avlular
Çekiç sesleri geliyor doklardan
Güzelim bahar rüzgarında ter kokuları
İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı

İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı
Başımda eski alemlerin sarhoşluğu
Los kayıkhaneleriyle bir yalı
Dinmiş lodosların uğultusu içinde
İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı

İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı
Bir yosma geçiyor kaldırımdan
Küfürler, şarkılar, türküler, laf atmalar.
Bir şey düşüyor elinden yere
Bir gül olmalı
İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı

İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı
Bir kuş çırpınıyor eteklerinde
Alnın sıcak mı, değil mi, biliyorum
Dudakların ıslak mı, değil mi, biliyorum
Beyaz bir ay doğuyor fıstıkların arkasından
Kalbinin vurusundan anlıyorum
İstanbul’u dinliyorum.


    
    

A Hundred Steps

(Listen to the poem here)



I cannot find my head at times,

at least I cannot find the thoughts

I thought were in it.

It often happens when I’ve had a day of

reckless people reading speeches, horns a-blaring,

driving words in truckloads through

the middle of my brain, relentlessly at speed.

All my own whimsical and little notions

like wrappers near a busy road,

go flying up, up and away.

As I walk home, near sunset,

I am still busy looking for them in the less gardened

precincts of my mind, among the nettles and the

rambling bushes and the ponds and littered soil.

I walk wound tight in frowns,

hunched up, eyes down and when I come to the hundred

steps which separate me from the last short stretch of road,

I raise my head, something I have not done

for hours, to take them in before I take them on

and up at the top between the linden trees

there are some evenings when the sky is mauve,

magenta, lilac, indigo and violet – all the colours

at the rainbow’s end – so taut that if one had

hands and fingers long enough one could reach out and

just by grazing  them produce a chord

which I don’t have the power to imagine

but which would ring out so and for so long that people would

forget their doings, drop their change, discard their penny feuds as well

and come from over hills and lakes and rivers

for miles around, for hours they would come

walking through the night, long-stride

after long stride, wide-eyed,

with thoughtful faces guided by this

sound astounding chiming, rhyming

with the marrow in their bones

and on arriving they would cock their heads

to listen to the black tree boughs

still tingling with harmonics

and sit round fires, pore over picture books

and photographs and sift through bags of names

of things and feelings and relationships and attributes

and look at each other in a web

of glances inside which

we would ask ourselves-

What is it? What is that simple little

thing which somewhere we have all forgotten ?

                                                                                                            Phillip Hill 2007


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(This poem is included in my book The Observation Car which is available from