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Nazim Hikmet (1901 – 1963)

Turkish poet and dramatist, who is widely regarded as the best-known Turkish poet in the West; his works have been translated into several languages.
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Nazim Hikmet
Looking at this insolent earth,
you hear the first battle cry of our species-
trap it under a rock
and together, screaming, attack
and destroy it, as if killing a mammoth.
Hikmet quotes
At eighteen the heart shoots like a pebble from a slingshot
and the head doesn't sit on the shoulder.
I've never regretted I was born too soon.
I'm proud to be
a child of the twentieth century.
I'm satisfied
to join its ranks
on our side
and fight for a new world...

Hikmet Nazim quotes
Today is Sunday.
For the first time they took me out into the sun today.
And for the first time in my life I was aghast
that the sky is so far away
          and so blue
          and so vast
              I stood there without a motion.
Then I sat on the ground with respectful devotion
leaning against the white wall.
Who cares about the waves with which I yearn to roll
Or about strife or freedom or my wife right now.
The soil, the sun and me...
I feel joyful and how.
Hikmet Nazim
My country or the stars
Or my youth, what's farthest?
Nazim Hikmet quotes
You waste the attention of your eyes,
the glittering labour of your hands,
and knead the dough enough for dozens of loaves
of which you'll taste not a morsel;
you are free to slave for othersó
you are free to make the rich richer.
The moment you're born
they plant around you
mills that grind lies
lies to last you a lifetime.
You keep thinking in your great freedom
a finger on your temple
free to have a free conscience.
Your head bent as if half-cut from the nape,
your arms long, hanging,
your saunter about in your great freedom:
you're free
with the freedom of being unemployed.
You love your country
as the nearest, most precious thing to you.
But one day, for example,
they may endorse it over to America,
and you, too, with your great freedomó
you have the freedom to become an air-base.
You may proclaim that one must live
not as a tool, a number or a link
but as a human beingó
then at once they handcuff your wrists.
You are free to be arrested, imprisoned
and even hanged.
There's neither an iron, wooden
nor a tulle curtain
in your life;
there's no need to choose freedom:
you are free.
But this kind of freedom
is a sad affair under the stars.
Nazim Hikmet
The strangest of our powers
Is the courage to live
Knowing that we will die,
Knowing nothing more true.
Hikmet Nazim quotes
I'm twenty-seven,
she's seventeen.
"Blind Cupid,
lame Cupid,
both blind and lame Cupid
said, Love this girl,"
At eighteen you don't think about memories,
you tell them.
Hikmet Nazim
It's this way:
being captured is beside the point,
the point is not to surrender.
Nazim Hikmet
Welcome baby
it's your turn to live
they're laying for you chicken pox whooping cough smallpox
malaria TB heart disease cancer and so on
unemployment hunger and so on
train wrecks bus accidents plane crashes on-the-job injuries
earthquakes floods droughts and so on
heartbreak alcoholism and so on
nightsticks prisons doors and so on
they're laying for you the atom bomb and so on
welcome baby
it's your turn to live
they're laying for you socialism communism and so on.

Nazim Hikmet quotes
At eighteen you sleep without memories.
Nazim Hikmet
You're my bondage and my freedom,
my flesh burning like a naked summer night,
you're my country.
Hazel eyes marbled green,
you're awesome, beautiful, and brave,
you're my desire always just out of reach.
Hikmet quotes
Because of you, each day is a melon slice
smelling sweetly of earth
Because of you, all fruits reach out to me
as if I were the sun.
Thanks to you, I live on the honey of hope.
You are the reason my heart beats.
Because of you, even my loneliest nights
smile like an Anatolian kilim on your wall.
Should my journey end before I reach my city,
I've rested in a rose garden thanks to you.
Because of you I don't let death enter,
clothed in the softest garments,
and knocking on my door with songs
calling me to the greatest place.
Hikmet Nazim
Loneliness feels like prison.
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