In my tired eyes’ dark circles,
like roses, like huge endless roses,
dawn has appeared … Roses
more moaning than reeds …
day has broken, alas, behind them.

And birds again from golden towers
announce lifetimes’ repeating …
but are they birds, those who each evening
journey through our worlds?

Evening, again evening, again evening,
an aqueduct of silver thread if I look in the water,
an enchanted bow above me, the sky.

Evening, again evening, again evening …
to be at this moment a reed in the lake!

translated by DONNY SMITH


AHMET HAŞIM was born in Baghdad in 1887 to an old Ottoman family. In 1898, he was sent to Istanbul to learn Turkish and receive a good Ottoman education. He became interested in French and Ottoman poetry at the Sultanî (Galatasaray) High School and published his first poem in 1901. After graduating in 1907, he held various low-level bureaucratic and teaching posts. During World War I, he was a reserve officer and inspector in the Ottoman Army. After discharge, he again had to accept various low-level posts. His first poetry collection, Göl Saatleri (Lake Hours), was published in 1921 and his second collection, Piyale (Wineglass), in 1926. He traveled to Paris and Frankfurt a few times, mostly for medical care. He died in Istanbul in 1933. Haşim is often cited as a forebear by Turkish poets today.
DONNY SMITH’s books of translations include Pigeonwoman / Üvercinka by Cemal Süreya (with A. Karakaya), I Too Went to the Hunt of a Deer by Lâle Müldür, and If Cutting Off the Head of the Gorgon by Wenceslao Maldonado. He teaches at a high school in Istanbul.