"Voice" By Melih Cevdet Anday, translated from the Turkish by Sidney Wade and Efe Murad
I woke to find myself filled with sound
My face my eyes my mouth my nose my hands
It was the sound of a sea-door opening
The sound of the sun-hen shaking dust from her feathers
The sound of a tooth-colored hawser creaking
Of a trumpet in the shape of a tree
Of tomorrow’s wheat, of a moving bone
It was the sound of an historical wrist, of resistance
Of capering cars, of embracing horses.
I watched it, as blue as a carnation cooling in the sun
As beautiful as the pencil behind a construction worker’s ear
As intense as a wet barrel in the rain
As ecstatic as a clothesline brushed by the wing of a sparrow
Like pigeons strolling through a schoolyard
Like a lip kissed on the coast, a lip kissed in the rain
Like faceless minutes nuzzling up to shadows
Like celestial toys.
Melih Cevdet Anday was a ground-breaking poet in Turkey’s modernist period. He published eleven collections of poems, eight plays, eight novels, and fifteen collections of essays. Together with Orhan Veli and Oktay Rifat, in 1941 he published Garip, or Strange, a collection of poetry that radically altered the course of Turkish poetic history.
Born in 1987 in Istanbul, Efe Murad is currently working towards his Ph.D in Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard. He has published four books of poetry and a book of translations from the Iranian poet M. Azad in Turkish. His translations from Turkish poetry, together with the American poet Sidney Wade, have appeared in journals such as Asymptote, Little Star, Talisman, and Two Lines. He is working on the complete Turkish translations of Ezra Pound’s Cantos.
Sidney Wade has published five collections of poetry, the most recent of which is Stroke, from Persea Books. Her sixth, Edge, will be published by Persea in April 2013. She has served as President of AWP and Secretary/Treasurer of ALTA and has taught workshops in Poetry and Translation at the University of Florida’s MFA@FLA program since 1993. Along with Efe Murad, she has translated a substantial collection of the poetry of Melih Cevdet Anday.