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Nazim Hikmet

Last Will and Testament

by Nazim Hikmet, April 27, 1953

Comrades, if I don’t live to see the day

-I mean, if I die before freedom comes-

Take me away

And bury me in a village cemetery in

Anatolia.

 

The worker Osman whom Hassan Bey ordered

Shot

Can lie on one side of me, and on the other

Side

The martyr Aysha, who gave birth in the rye

And died inside of forty days

 

Tractors and songs can pass below the

Cemetery –

In the dawn light, new people, the smell of burnt gasoline,

Fields held in common, water in canals,

No drought or fear of the police.

 

Of course, we won’t hear those songs:

The dead lie stretched out underground

And rot like black branches,

Deaf, dumb, and blind under the earth.

 

But I sang those songs

Before they were written,

I smelled the burnt gasoline

Before the blueprints for the tractors were

Drawn.

 

As for my neighbors,

The worker Osman and the martyr Aysha,

They felt the great longing while alive,

Maybe without even knowing it.

 

Comrades, if I die before that day, I mean

-and it’s looking more and more likely-

bury me in a village cemetery in Anatolia,

and if there’s one handy,

a plane tree could stand at my head,

I wouldn’t need a stone or anything

As translated by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk

After release from prison

Awake.
Where are you?
At home.
Still unaccustomed –

awake or sleeping –

to being in your own home.
This is just one more of the stupefactions

of spending thirteen years in a prison.
Who’s lying at your side?
Not loneliness, but your wife,

in the peaceful sleep of an angel.
Pregnancy looks good on a woman.
What time is it?
Eight.
That means you’re safe until evening.
Because it’s the practice of police
Never to raid homes in broad daylight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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