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WhenIseehowtheairdirectlyoveracandleturnstoliquid, howthe airoverasphaltwhenhotalsoturnstoliquid, howthe seainthesunrecallsheatedasphalt(somesayit’samirage), I understandthesetears inme, downbelowlikeatree’s peeled bark, upabove like a prunedvine, are actually fire, which combinedwithairmakeswater. Only highupinthetree-tops, thecrowns, wherethebreezeneverceases, onlytherearefound clouds –white or grey stratus, or a heapof fire andwater combined.
With finger on mouth, when you do not want to wake someoneortheteacherwalksin. Heputsa fingertohismouth whenhewantstoquietentheclass. Orhetellsyoustraightto shutup. Butwhatintriguesmemost isthewayitslidesdown, pulls away fromthe lips. After you’ve imposedthe silence. Somejustloosentheirhand, othersdrawitouttopoint, others hold itlonger likethis.Andafoldinthefingers,blissfromthe tiredness of theunwontedgesture. This is howtheByzantine iconographersfirstpaintedthem. Thesaints.
Everyeveninghewaitedfor her at thewindow. But heonly ever sawhimself andleft. Till onedayhedecidedtowait her out andstoppedwaiting. Leaningover thewater, heflopped andstartedswimming. Notlikepeoplewiththeirheadabove waterbutlikefish. Hecameupforaironce ortwice, a dolphin or awhale, andthenhe sankfor good. Witheyes ever open inside the looking-glass. The rest carriedonlearningabout evolution–howcreatures emergedfromthewater ontodry land. Therestcarriedoninterpretingthelegendof Narcissus. Tuğ ğrul Tanyol FourPoems TranslatedbyRuthChristie
Tuğ ğrul Tanyol is a well-known poet, critic and essayist in Turkey. He was bornin1953inIstanbul andeducatedat the Catholic Lycéée of St Joseph and the University of the Bosphorus. In1985hewontheNecatigil Prizeforpoetry. To date he has publishedsixbooks of poetryandwrittenmany reviews andcritical essays. He teaches social sciences at the Universityof Marmara. Hispoetryislyrical butcontrolledby aclassicalclarity. Ithasbeensaidofhimthat‘heisa poetalive tothe pitfalls of blindideological allegiances’. He has been translatedintoSpanish, FrenchandEnglishandwas thefirst Turkishpoet totakepartintheTrois Rivièères poetryfestival inQuebec.