Ahmet Uysal (b. 1938 in Balıkesir, Turkey) worked as a teacher and administrator at elementary, high school and vocational education schools in Balıkesir, Yozgat, Çanakkale and Bursa, and later as a Ministry of National Education’s Primary School inspector.
Since publishing his first poem in 1954, his poems, short stories and critical essays have appeared widely, winning numerous awards. The founder and editor of the literary magazine Stories for Children, he has written more than 120 books for children, winning both the Unesco Special Award and Sedat Simavi Foundation’s Children’s Year Special Award for Once and Twice Upon A Time (1979).
His poetry books include With Waters (Yeni Biçem Yay, 1994); Long Gone Summers (Düşlem Yay, 1998), recipient of the Ceyhun Atuf Kansu Poetry Award; The Silence of Suffering (Bilgi Yay, 1999), recipient of the Yunus Nadi Poetry Award; Fugitive Poetry (İmbat Yay, 2006); and Paper Marbling of September (Mühür Kitaplığı, 2009), recipient of the Ergin Günçe Poetry Award.
by Ahmet Uysal
I put the blue Aegean shores to bed—
They’re Lethe’s now.
The weight of summer’s off my chest.
Please don’t do that, don’t rub me
The wrong way, don’t let me
Tarnish like a piece of old silver.
It’s too bad last winter
I couldn’t guard the paths
Where newts now throw off their skins.
If I could walk along those shores
I might stumble on the Via Regia
And wander through the splendid past.
I might hear Homer’s chant—
Would it be the same? Are we forever
Repeating the same restlessness?
Please don’t pick it up, let it remain
A poem of the blue sanctuary,
The one we set among sunsets.
As if you were Helen of Troy,
Or Sappho of Lesbos, out of the blue,
an arrow passes through the page!
For the one thousandth time tonight
Tell me another likely story,
Before the Sahara shuts its gates.
© Translation from Turkish by Ken Fifer and Nesrin Eruysal
Nesrin Eruysal is a literary scholar and translator, and editor of Söyleşi Üç Aylık Şiir Dergisi (part of The Conversation International Poetry Project).
Ken Fifer is a Professor of English at Penn State Berks. His fifth collection of poetry, Architectural Conditions: A Collaboration (Interarts Press, 2012), with the architect Larry Mitnick, has just been published.
Published with the permission of Ken Fifer and Nesrin Eruysal