NAZIM HIKMET – BARE FEET

Posted: 12 November 2011 in NAZIM HIKMET
Tags: ,

BARE FEET

The sun
over our heads
a turban of fire.
parched earth

chariks*for our bare feet
Beside us
a peasant
more dead than his old mule he’s not beside
us
he’s
in our boiling blood. No wrap on the

shoulders
no whip in hand
no horse, no cart
no gendarmes
we passed through
villages like bear-dens

muddy towns
bald mountains.
That’s how we traveled in that land! We listened
to the sound of stony fields in the watery eyes
of the old oxen. We saw that
the earth does not yield
its golden ears of grain
to black ploughs.
We didn’t travel as if in a dream
No,
we reached one rubbish heap after another. That’s how we
traveled in that land.

We know
what that land
is longing for.
This longing
is made up

like a materialist’s mind, this longing
is for matter
matter!
Low-lying
 
 hovels
with dour façades
are lined up
in streets like mole holes.
Jinn-eyed
pigeon-tongued

wearers of fine cotton turbans sit cross-legged
in stores.
In front of them
peasants with chapped soles
in rawhidechariks.
A burly gendarme
drags a couple
who committed
adultery in a field.
In the coffee house
the master dervish

hankering after the novice intones deeply
“Lahavle-ve-la”
spits on the faces
of the couple.
Over there

in this sleepy squalid run-down town
love is not romantic
Its soul is hungry
for two lively words: STEAM
ELECTRICITY!
If you’re not blind

you can see that
this soil-faced farmhand
and his sunken-chested son

– a survivor of the Caucasus front – have the
fingernails of the tax collector
clawing at their heads
he wants to be buried right here
with his daughter
his wife

his oxcart
clutching the last clump of his soil
and die with them

right here
and be buried
with them.
The mountains and the fields are longing passionately like a desiring
  
 woman
for machines
with souls of steam
every cog with 1000 horsepower becoming iron and ploughing the earth like
churning water!
O gentlemen
with yellow glass bellies
that gurgle like hookahs
O gentlemen
riding in your three-horse carriages
sighing â la Pierre Loti
to deaf
noselessblind
peasants gentlemen
with bridled mouths
and hands
holding pens!
We’re sick and tired of your lying tales.
From now on
you must get
into your
heads:

Peasants are longing for land
and the land
is longing for machines!

 *charik– simple peasant shoe made of raw hide

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