Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The art of farewell

When I was living, working, and studying in Istanbul, one of my teachers and friends was the Turkish poet, translator, and dramatist Cevat Capan. He taught me how to analyse and appreciate drama. I went to his house for drinks - we drank Raki and talked of his old friends in Istanbul whom he still meets every week.

We swapped poetry. He gave me a few poems he had recently translated into English for an upcoming publication - I gave him a collection of my own. I then presented him with a copy of my first, and only, play that I had written. His comments were favourable. That was the last time I saw him.

Winter is Over

"I've studied the art of farewell,"
specialized in exile.
I've learnt how a boat puts out from port.
Learnt the bitterness of a train whistle.

For years I lived on letters, lived
on smuggled tobacco, banned
publications. I've not forgotten a thing.
Nothing. Ever.

In the icy loneliness of the steppes
the sails at sea were what I missed the most.
There were no mountains, no mountains:
I leant back on the winds.

Was I out of my mind? A prisoner, say,
in the heart of darkness?
The blood dried -
and I was a rose, blown into flower.

Cevat Capan

1 comment:

JoA said...

it seems you've made good friends in istanbul;-) he's really a great translator and a legend among students of my university.