Posts Tagged ‘TUGRUL TANYOL’

(The plight of the poet in Turkey is compared to Prince Cem’s misfortunes.)

The day faded, red drops gleaming in its skirts.
I wandered night’s eroded garden
In a yellow rain, enclosed by endless rocks,
Memories shaking my heart, the copper smell of flight,
My childhood a throne room, my sultanate lost in Bursa.
All the gates closed, every gate a wall.
I turned, I saw that great mirror reflecting
The migrant rain where being and nothingness merge.

The day faded, red drops gleaming in its skirts.
There were no gates at my coming. Sunset, the quay
The sunken hulls off Rhodes.
Through my galley’s swollen beams I heard the wind’s whisper etched
Across the vast waters of my face.

High hills there, here steep and bitter ways,
A horse’s neigh, dark scent of rose,
Secret passages under temple ruins
And the chorus of petrified dead in musty cellars.
Who goes there? unwary traveller in this spring dawn
And virgins walking in white winding-sheets.

Suddenly lightning! gates appeared and vanished
Defeat and pain, flight and exile. With the copper smell
Of loneliness rising in time’s lost mirror,
This curse forged on my brow, this unknown journey,
I felt a thousand redhot irons sear my flesh
My body hanging from dark crenels —
Myself a spring dawn’s sacrificial victim.
Suddenly rain! one half of my face washed away.
Lead seals me eyeless! These are my bridal gifts
A bass wind moans in the desolate hollows
The desolate caves of my eyes — whose turn now?
All my mates hanged from the drowned rigging of my sunken ship
Oh my Celal! dear Sinan!
Where does this sea flow? We alone are left
Rain blots out all the gates.

I, Cem, till yesterday ruled half an empire.
My image faded on the coins I minted
I died a thousand deaths, I watched my own corpse
Striking the shore.
I walked with greasy ropes about my neck (sunset, the quay,
The sunken hulls off Rhodes) and now
The world has no more place for me
No house or palace, neither throne nor rank.
Give me your hand, elder brother, let me near,
Take me in, have me strangled if you need,
Part of me totally dark, part suddenly rain!

Days were buried in a forest’s soundless scream, In the bottomless wells of its heart. Courage:
The darkness behind my eyes is a haunted land
— I’ll never reach.

The day faded, red drops gleaming in its skirts,
A horse’s neigh, dark scent of rose
And no gates at my coming.
The gates erased,
I, stranded in lost time, was left outside.
In this cold, this darkness of desolation,
I am alone, my hands my only light.


My gipsy soul, curb your horse,
there is nowhere to go from here.
Evening, a wind-winged bird,
settles heavy: now is the moment
when travellers fail.

Bend down, look in my face
at the old maps traced in my eyes,
at those old roads sprinkled with stars,
no more long slow trails
of caravans camped by the rivers,
no hot summer nights
of nomadic drinking-bouts.

Here is the night’s roof, the beauty
of creation opening out,
we have come to the end of the days
of free proud friendship,
when we slept beneath a thousand skies,
made love and multiplied.

What is this longing, it consumed us
in half-open rooms where candles melted away?
Where are we, what time is it?
Whose work this dark street,
this snowwhite shroud, this lost time
that suddenly died?

If I shoot an arrow and bring down night
luminous days will kneel at my feet,
my heart will open with the newly-washed wounds
in your naked breasts,
with the roar in the topmost branch of the tree.

My gipsy soul, curb your horse,
we’ve come to the end of the road.

I heard the merry-go-round, I felt air
Glide like a water drop down my neck.
I’m a thing incomplete that fulfils itself,
A bullet perhaps,
One day I will strike you too.

I am a thing to which geometric shapes
Mathematical equations can give no meaning
A water drop gliding down my neck
gives the false feeling of damp on my neck.

Fire burns only the bark of the tree.
Who can dry up the rivers that run inside?
I heard the merry-go-round, I was a child then,
And the game between fire and water
Was like my father’s hands stretching out to my mother’s hair.

Then I came into being from something, a something
Piercing the air’s fine membrane,
The damp flight of a seagull tracing a shape far off
Something slipping away from our life.

I heard the merry-go-round, above it a blanket of nothing.
Somewhere a tree was shouting a hand beat on an iron door.
The air was flowering, and strange, I was wilting
I was chasing the yellowing leaf like an ill-timed wind.

I am water distilled from a dry still
I live in the veins of a tree,
I’m a stone hurled in the air,
The wan kiss of forgetting,
In the thrill of mounting the merry-go-round with a pocket of bottle-tops
I cry to you:
There’s life beyond the hill!
Come out from the dreary darkness of your homes and parlours,
Find a tree and from its thinnest branch
Make a harpoon
Thrust it into your oppressors’ hearts!

I heard the merry-go-round, it was laughing,
It laughed like the river in the tree.
I’m a thing incomplete, and more
A bullet perhaps
But somehow one day
I’ll fulfil myself with you.

the magic has gone,the boat that stirred the water
shrank to a frail shell,
the stone stopped falling, fruit wilted on the tree,
before she could be a woman our dear one grew old

the magic has gone, look! the sea, the moon only half
in a race like a sleepless man on a cloudless night
this shivering star, the tree’s reflection,
like something falling into your heart, perhaps

as though over and finished it’s gone, the sleeper awoke and saw
the unseen become visible, the voice feared its echo,
the shadow belonged to no one, the eagle found his prey
where the fox-cubs hid before they could flee

the magic has gone, the old man turned to the voice that called him
he died there again in the hope of becoming young
a thousand times the light broke into all its colours,
a thousand times the cave overflowed with our shouts and cries

it closed and became a mountain, with the coffee-grounds’ reading
that never worked out hope waned and fled
closed ways suddenly opened
but no one came back, no silent ship

the magic has gone, the snake turned on itself
bitten by the fangs of its huddling young
the scorpion returned to night, there was a halo of flame,
a saint appeared, a poet, the prophet

took off his turban, he shed his jacket,
on his road to Hira the sacred mountain
shoots in the desert
found water again

the magic has gone, it’s you I found, Lord,
the unseen became visible, the voice feared its echo,
in the midst of the people and the city
the mirage became real, what was was not

the magic has gone, you did not see
it was just a deep dream
that came down
and will come again

She dabbles her feet in the chill water
loving her water-image that looks at herself,
a seagull flies
from the rocks where she runs,
a rider suddenly is on her,
she feels the horse’s breath on her cheeks
and in one bead of sweat that falls from its cheeks
to her nipples
she traces its footprints through all the continents it crossed.
In the taut skin of its belly she hears
the boom and throb of never-ending drums.

From the chill waters where her feet are dipped
she creates a love-ring and casts it wide;
from the light that blinds men’s eyes
who are caught in those rings
a dragon takes shape
and waits for those captive souls.

In that forest of captive souls
how many trees could escape?
Hearts hang in the sun to dry
on the sharp-pointed branches,
many a sightless man looking at the past
through hollows gouged
by sharp-beaked sparrows,
now waits for the cold palace of the faithless nymph.

Playfully dabbling her feet in the water
she looks at its scatter of limpid laughter,
she builds palaces of ice over winter’s wounds,
under the ice the wound bleeds endlessly.
In the cold palace of the faithless nymph
woman finds herself
and man is turned to stone.


Tugrul Tanyol is born in Istanbul-Turkey in 1953. He studied Sociology at the Bosphorus University and is now an associate professor at the University of Marmara-Istanbul.

He is considered one of the leading figures of the new poetry of the 80’s. He published six books of poetry: Elinden Tutun Günü “Catch the Day by its Hand”(1983); Ağustos Dehlizleri “The Labyrinths of August” (1985, Necatigil Prize); Sudaki Anka “The Phoenix in the Water” (1990); Oda Müziği “Chamber Music” (1992); İhanet Perisinin Soğuk Sarayı “The Cold Palace of the Faithless Nymph” (1995). The five books together in one volume in 1997: Collected Poems; and Büyü Bitti “The Magic Has Gone” (2000). A selection of his poems has been published in Madrid by Verbum in 2003 “Los Laberintos de agosto y otros poemas”.

In the 80’s Tanyol collaborated in publishing two influential poetry reviews: Üç Çiçek and Poetika. He participated in the publishing of the art magazine “E”. From 2000-2004 he worked as counselor to YKY Publishing House and been in the board of editors of the Kitap-lık, Cogito; and Sanat Dünyamız reviews.

Tugrul Tanyol is also the author of many literary articles and critical essays published in the mainstream reviews and newspapers. He was a founding member of the jury of Cemal Süreya Prize, member of the jury in Balkanica Prize in1997, member of the Great Poetry Prize of the Ministry of Culture in 1998. Tanyol was also the vice president of the Union of Writers of Turkey in 1995-1996. He is a member of the Turkish Pen Club.

He participated among others:

Struga Poetry Evenings – Macedonia: 1992 Festival de Trois Rivières – Quebec-Canada: 1993 et 1999 International Festival “Curtea de Arges Poetry Nights “ – Romania: 1998 Voix de la Méditerrannée – Lodève France 1999 Medellin Poetry Festival – Colombia, 2000 and 2003 Expo-2002 Biel, Switzerland

Balcanica Reunion: Tseloniki 1997 Poetry Readings: London 1993; Berlin and Vienna 1995; Indiana – United States 1999