Desire at the End of a Day

Original by Ahmet Haşim
Translated, from the Turkish, by Mustafa Bozkurt Gürsoy

Into the circles of my eyes weary
Emerged like roses the dawn
Roses… endless and growing roses…
Roses, more than reeds they moan
Then breaks the day, such a pity!

Again the birds of the golden towers
Decree the repetition of life.
Are they not the birds every night
Leaving these lands of ours?

Nights and nights and nights all over again
Look, a gilded arch becomes the water

Nights and nights and nights all over again
Wish I was a reed of the lake at this moment!


Bir Günün Sonunda Arzû

Yorgun gözümün halkalarında
Güller gibi fecr oldu nümâyân,
Güller gibi… sonsuz, iri güller…
Güller ki kamıştan daha nâlân,
Gün doğdu yazık arkalarında!

Altın kulelerden yine kuşlar
Tekrârını ömrün eder i’lân.
Kuşlar mıdır onlar ki her akşam
Âlemlerimizden sefer eyler?

Akşam, yine akşam, yine akşam,
Bir sırma kemerdir suya baksam

Akşam, yine akşam, yine akşam,
Göllerde bu dem bir kamış olsam!

Mustafa Bozkurt Gürsoy has a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degrees in International Relations, respectively from Bilkent University and Middle East Technical University, both in Ankara, Turkiye. He translated philosophical articles from English into Turkish for a few collected works on topics including phenomenology, post-structuralism, philosophy of science and queer philosophy. He takes an interest in literature, particularly in poetry. He is currently a PhD student in Political Science at SUNY Buffalo.

Instagram: @philozopher
Twitter: @omnisapient

Ahmet Haşim (pronounced as Haa-shim) was born in Baghdad in the Ottoman Empire in ~1884. Following his mother’s death, he moved to Istanbul with his father. He worked as a French tutor in Izmir, fought in World War I, and lived in Istanbul until his death in 1933. As one of the pioneers of Turkish modern poetry, Ahmet Haşim is said to demonstrate an impressionist style in his poetry. In accordance with his famous dictum “Art is revered and personal,” he was in line with those emphasizing the understanding of “art for art’s sake.” Because he often referred to themes of night and evening, he was lauded as “the poet of the evening.” He published two poetry collections, Göl Saatleri (The Hours of Lake) in 1921 and Piyâle (The Goblet) in 1926. Aside from poetry, he published essays on aesthetics, poetry, the daily lives of people, and his trips to Europe.

Translator’s Note:
Ahmet Haşim was one of the pioneering poets of modern Turkish literature in the 20th century. This poem, “Bir Günün Sonunda Arzû” / “Desire at the End of a Day,” is one of the most exemplary of his works. In my process of translating it, I paid heed to the choice of words and the form as they also carry the idiosyncrasy of the poet, but my primary goal was to convey the emotional atmosphere infused in the original text as I perceived it.