> Levent Yilmaz, translated by Ünal Aytür

The Ultimate Land


The wind no longer drags, they say.


A lukewarm evening
adorned with the perfume of lemon trees,
when alone on the path passing above the sea,
how difficult for him to say, "The past is present;
the shingles come and go
as the waves hit the shore; movement is not in them."
Is he complaining about the wind?

When not young enough to climb trees
do the eyes looking forward
see a world in process of becoming;
or does sight
snatch some foggy objects from memory
and add them to the piece of time stretching before us?
He looks far now, at the space spreading from the hilltop to the shore.
The world’s waste, perhaps because he, too, has wasted inside,
strikes his eyes.
Is he flinging fragments of his erased childhood down this cliff?
Why does the copperish colour of days clash with the charm he thought he had in him? Has indifference been left behind?
He felt light inside, he could be blown away...
The last light of day comes and touches his hands...

A dry flower that believes in nothingness, he says;
when he laughs now, he thinks his joy can reach nobody.

To go back
In the dark,
he has to find again the road he had forgotten.
He reels.
The road becomes lost there where the bushes are and the moon offers herself
to those with eyes to see.
It is night time now, the cold nuzzles into all hearts.
The moment he thinks what a brutal business it is to ask, to wait, to wish to hear, his knees knock; but not because of exhaustion; what frightens is this dialogue with himself, he knows, tough and pitiless... He shudders.
In the moonlight that endears itself to him,
days remind him of,
a soul getting heavier and heavier.

Hadn’t anyone warned him that one couldn’t go, that one only stayed?

He pulls at his face — eyelids getting heavy — a familiar pain that he used to feel of old —
whereas yesterday — giant roses — the same — to do, to make,

he thinks that waking up is of the nature of enchantment.

This life turning into a broken mirror, a cristal bowl, offers him
piecemeal inconstant sights.
If only he knew how to take, if only he said or could say
it was richness,
if only he saw that the day he awaited expectantly is
not different from today.
The present time turns into yesterday in an instant.

He goes and squats under a tree.
As if he could conquer his fears in this serenity...
Would it be better if he knew the world he refused is lodged in him?
But I haven’t interfered with anybody’s life, he says.
A butterfly flaps wings in obscurity,
far away, somebody writhes with pain.

There must be a hidden ring linking day to day, light to light, and me to myself; I shouldn’t think of the beginning and the end; a case among cases, that’s all, only one probability among many, a coincidence; if so, he says,
worried,
he carries on from where he’d left, why?
Should there be a meaning of being here?
Here, by the sea, far away, or high up, under a tree, my eyes fixed, with sight unable to reach anywhere except into my soul, why?
he repeats yes, saying
you should ask yourself the same things differently,
how does a star die, for instance,
but why, why now and here...
What is it that I reflect?

He sets off towards the hills,
he reaches the valley following a voice that comes from nowhere he can spot...
Wild waters, waterfalls, fierce rocks, are they all inside him, too?
He hasn’t learnt to keep his silence yet.
Words do not come out of his mouth, but echo in his mind.
That voice too must be silenced. He must learn to live thoughtless...

Hasn’t anyone told him,
did he not hear a voice even,
wasn’t he ever warned,
does he not know that it is others who always win,
that he is slave to the verb to suppose?
Did he forget? Did he never learn? What is he going to do now?

He turns back,
hoping to find,
whereas time, that dried fruit,
is waiting for extinction.
His dreams will eventually embrace matter,
hold it tight and become one with it.
A fire,
a pinch of salt, an interrupted smile, nervousness, all
will assume solidity as they are clothed in the garments of daydream.

What if clothes are torn,
and things becomes steam again...
How to tell him he is no more than a moment?
The voice he desired to hear, when did it reach his ears?

For a time,
a causeless cry gets locked in his mouth,
it leaks through the lock of his teeth, but falls prisoner to tight shut lips.
If lack of voice means non-existence,
what about his thoughts, those voiceless thunderbolts, don’t they exist likewise?

A lukewarm wind makes him shiver again.
With roar and chirp, life is putting up a fight against the silence
that denies it existence.
A salley bows to the ground.
He tries to walk through the dust,
earth and sky merge,
life advises him to protect himself, to run,
and to make a bouquet out of the signs flying about.
Has he understood?
Those awkward sentences he’s constructed, can they be read in his eyes in future?
Behind words, sentences, and voices there’s a world;
tell him to communicate with it.
That dream surrounding the world, may it be broken,
and may voice take on matter...
May signs finally get reborn and merge with substances...

If only this ultimate and which they say is not for him was his land;
If he could touch words here, take them in his hand and fling them
towards moonlight, he would attain language; he could be daring, he
could be lost.

Will he be clever enough to say, love is to understand.



translated from the Turkish by Ünal Aytür





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