Yunus Emre

Knowledge is to understand To understand who you are.

If you know not who you are What's the use of learning?

The aim in learning is To understand God's Truth.

Because without knowledge It is wasted hard labor.

Do not say: I know it all, I am obedient to my God.

If you know not who God is That is sheer idle talk.

Twenty-eight syllables You read from end to end.

You name the first `alpha'' What can it possibly mean?

Yunus Emre says also Let me receive what I need.

The best possible thing Is to find perfect peace.

Yunus Emre (?1238-?1320)
1 2 3
Your love has wrested me away from me,
You're the one I need, you're the one I crave
Day and night I burn, gripped by agony,
You're the one I need, you're the one I crave

I find no great joy being alive,
If I cease to exist, I would not grieve,
The only solace I have is your love,
You're the one I need, you're the one I crave

Lover yearn for you, but your love slays them,
At the bottom of the sea it lays them,
It has God's images - it displays them,
You're the one I need, you're the one I crave

Even if, at the end they make me die
And scatter my ashes up to the sky,
My pit would break into this outcry:
You're the one I need, you're the one I crave

Let me drink the wine of love sip by sip,
Like Mecnun, live in the hills in hardship,
Day and night, care for you holds me in its grip,
You're the one I need, you're the one I crave

'Yunus Emre the mystic' is my name,
Each passing day fans and rouses my flame,
What I desire in both worlds is the same:
You're the one I need, you're the one I crave

One constant theme in Yunus' poetry is Love, that of God for man and, therefore, of man for God. Yunus' love is the most powerful of everything, it is for the creator of the universe but it is also the creator, it is fierce and burning, consuming Yunus' mere existence. Yunus is like Mecnun, "the mad man of Love" who suffered , appear to have gone mad, and died just for the love of Leyla. Yunus wants to be as drunk, i.e. mad, as Mecnun, for his Love which wounds him terribly. For Yunus external forms of religion are not important and reward and punishment are not of concern; he only cares for God, yearns of his Love. The world is temporary and even when he dies, even when he is killed like the martyr of love Hallaj (Yunus refers to him in various other pieces of poetry), whatever is left of him will be yearning for God. Yunus can argue with God that His Love is killing people, making them suffer enormously, he seems to complain of his unjust treatment, but regardless, his love is so great that he can not help yearning for Him. He believes that he existed with God before there was existence. Ofcourse, he is no different than God:

I was a star for a long time;
in the skies the angels were desirous [of me].
The all-compelling God commanded;
I was There then.

Before I was in this form,
when my name was not Yunus,
I was He, He was I,
I was with the one who offered this love.

Yunus is hinting at a common Sufi theme of the existence of the Saints during the primordial time. Yunus is a perfect-man himself who was with the Creator before the Creation. He shared the divine knowledge with God. This idea is revealed more clearly in the following verses:

Before the created universe came here,
Before the skies were filled with angels,
Before this realm had a foundation,
I was with the creator of the Domain.

He is not content to make this shocking statement; he calls everyone else to accept it also:

If you don't identify Man as God,
All your learning is of no use at all.

Yunus in fact refers to the idea of "vahdet'i vucut" , unity of being, which is a common theme on Sufi mysticism. He adheres to most of the common , dominant ideas of Sufism, as can clearly be seen from these pieces of poetry and his other works. What is different and most striking in Yunus is his use of the simple Turkish of his time - which could still be understood and appreciated quite easily by a modern Turkish speaker, and his outstanding humanism. It is the second aspect which primarily interests us here which certainly is not separate from his use of folk language.

I'm in the street, in a street all lonely
Walking, walking and never looking back
At the point my path is mingled with the black
I seem to see a phantom wait for me

Ashen clouds overcast the darkling sky
Lightening bolts seek the chimneys of homes
In this midnight only two who sleepless roam
I here am one and there the sidewalks lie

Drop by drop a terror collects in me
At the head of every street the demons wait
The houses fix their gaze, dark black and great,
On me, like blindmen with their eyes ripped free

The sidewalks, mother to the suffering
Sidewalks, the person who has lived in me
Sidewalks, sound heard when all sounds cease to be
Sidewalks, a language within me lingering

I'll not give up life in a soft embrace
I am the child nursed at this sidewalk's breast
Please let no morning on this dark street rest
On this dark street let me ever run my race

Let me go on and the road, let us not stay
Let the lamps flow past me like a flood
Let hungry dogs hear the click-clack of my tread
Let there be an arch, vaulted in gloom, on my way

Let the daytimes be yours, give me darknesses
Let me not walk in light nor to eyes appear
As in a damp quilt let me wrap myself here
Cover me, cover me in their cool darknesses

If my body, full-length on these stones could lie
If these cold stones would draw the fever from my brow
Like these streets plunging into uncanny drowse
If only the sidewalks' melancholy mate would die

Necip Fazıl Kısakürek
Translated by Walter G. Andrews
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Kuyruklu Şiir

Uyuşamayız sevgilim, yollarımız ayrı;
Sen ciğercinin kedisi ben sokak kedisi.
Senin yiyeceğin kalaylı kapta
Benimki aslan ağzında.
Sen aşk rüyasi görürsün ben kemik.

Ama seninki de kolay degil, kardeşim;
Kolay değil hani,
Böyle kuyruk sallamak Tanrının günü.

Orhan Veli Kanık


Tailed Poem

We can’t be together, Our ways are distinct.
You’re the cat of a butcher, but I’m an alley cat.
Your food is served with a tinned plate,
I take mine from the lion’s mouth.
You dream of love; I dream of bone.

But your way isn’t easy either, pal!
It’s not so easy
To wag a tail and fawn over the man!

Orhan Veli Kanık
Translated by elt
Memleket İsterim

Memleket isterim
Gök mavi, dal yeşil, tarla sarı olsun;
Kuşların çiceklerin diyarı olsun.

Memleket isterim
Ne başta dert ne gönülde hasret olsun;
Kardeş kavgasına bir nihayet olsun.

Memleket isterim
Ne zengin fakir ne sen ben farkı olsun;
Kış günü herkesin evi barkı olsun.

Memleket isterim
Yaşamak, sevmek gibi gönülden olsun;
Olursa bir şikayet ölümden olsun.

Cahit Sıtkı Tarancı


I Want a Country

I want a country
Let the sky be blue, the bough green, the cornfield yellow
Let it be a land of birds and flowers

I want a country
Let there be no pain in the head, no yearning in the heart
Let there be an end to brothers' quarrels

I want a country
Let there be no rich and poor, no you and me
On winter days let everyone have hose and home

I want a country
Let living be like loving from the heart
If there must be complaint, let it be of death

Cahit Sıtkı Tarancı
translated by Bernard Lewis

Bedava yaşıyoruz, bedava;
Hava bedava, bulut bedava;
Dere tepe bedava;

Yağmur çamur bedava;
Otomobillerin dişi,
Sinemaların kapısı,
Camekanlar bedava;
Peynir ekmek değil ama
Acı su bedava;

Kelle fiyatına hürriyet,
Esirlik bedava;
Bedava yaşıyoruz, bedava.

Orhan Veli



We live free
Air is free, clouds are free
Valleys and hills are free
Rain and mud are free
The outside of cars
The entrances of cinemas
And the shop windows are free
Bread and cheese cost money
But stale water is free
Freedom can cost your head
But prison is free
We live free

Orhan Veli Kanık
translated by Bernard Lewis
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?

Senin dudakların pembe
Ellerin beyaz,
Al tut ellerimi bebek
Tut biraz!

Benim doğduğum köylerde
Ceviz ağaçları yoktu,
Ben bu yüzden serinliğe hasretim
Okşa biraz!

Benim doğduğum köylerde
Buğday tarlaları yoktu,
Dağıt saçlarını bebek
Savur biraz!

Benim doğduğum köyleri
Akşamları eşkiyalar basardı.
Ben bu yüzden yalnızlığı hiç sevmem
Konuş biraz!

Benim doğduğum köylerde
Kuzey rüzgarları eserdi,
Ve bu yüzden dudaklarım çatlaktır
Öp biraz!

Sen Türkiye gibi aydınlık ve güzelsin!
Benim doğduğum köyler de güzeldi,
Sen de anlat doğduğun yerleri,
Anlat biraz!

Cahit Kulebi



Your lips are red
Your hands are white
Take my hands, child,
Hold them a while.

In the village where I was born
There were no walnut trees
That's why I yearn for coolness
Fondle me a while.

In the village where I was born
There were no cornfields
So scatter your hair child
Flaunt it a while.

In the village where I was born
The north winds blew
That's why my lips are cracked
Kiss them a while

In the village where I was born
Bandits struck by night
That's why I hate to be alone
Speak with me a while

In the village where I was born
Men did not know how to laugh
That's why I'm still so unhappy
Make me laugh a while

You are light and beauty, like my country
The village where I was born was beautiful too
Now tell me of the place where you were born
Tell me a while.

Cahit Kulebi
Translated by Bernard Lewis

Ey,mavi göklerin beyaz ve kızıl süsü,
Kızkardeşimin gelinliği,şehidimin son örtüsü !
Işık ışık, dalga dalga bayrağım,
Senin destanını okudum, senin destanını yazacağım.

Sana benim gözümle bakmayanın
Mezarını kazacağım.
Seni selamlamadan uçan kuşun
Yuvasını bozacağım.

Dalgalandığın yerde ne korku, ne keder...
Gölgende bana da, bana da yer ver !
Sabah olmasın, günler doğmasın ne çıkar.
Yurda ay yıldızın ışığı yeter.

Savaş bizi karlı dağlara götürdüğü gün.
Kızıllığında ısındık,
Dağlardan çöllere düşürdüğü gün.
Gölgene sığındık.

Ey, şimdi süzgün, rüzgarlarda dalgalan;
Barışın güvercini, savaşın kartalı...
Yüksek yerlerde açan çiçeğim;
Senin altında doğdum,
Senin dibinde öleceğim.

Tarihim, şerefim, şiirim, herşeyim;
Yeryüzünde yer beğen:
Nereye dikilmek istersen
Söyle seni oraya dikeyim!

Arif Nihat Asya


The Flag

The white and scarlet ornament for blue skies...
The bridal gown for a sister, the Iast cover for a martyr,
Glimmering and glittering, undulating with wind, my flag,
I've read your legend, I'll write your Iegend.

I'll dig the grave for him
Who doesn't look at you with my eyes.
I'll ruin the nest of the bird
Which flies away without greeting you.

Wherever you undulate, there is no fear, no sorrow...
Give me, give me a place under your shadow.
Who cares if it is not morning, if days don't break,
The light of your star and crescent is enough for the country.

When war led us to snow-capped mountains
We warmed in your redness;
When war led us from mountains to deserts,
We took shelter in your shade.

You, now languid, waving with winds;
The pigeon of peace, the eagle of war...
My flower that blooms in lofty places
I was born beneath you,
I'll die underneath you.

My history, my honour, my poetry, my all;
Choose in the world anywhere:
Wherever you want to be fixed on,
Tell me that I may plant you here!

Ağlasam sesimi duyar mısınız,
Dokunabilir misiniz,
Gözyaşlarıma, ellerinizle?
Bilmezdim şarkıların bu kadar güzel,
Kelimelerinse kifayetsiz olduğunu
Bu derde düşmeden önce.
Bir yer var, biliyorum;
Her şeyi söylemek mümkün;

Epeyce yaklaşmışım, duyuyorum;

Orhan Veli Kanık


I Can't Tell

If I cry, can you hear my voice,
In my lines;
Can you touch,
My tears, with your hands?
I didn't know that songs were this beautiful,
Whereas words were this insufficient
Before I had this trouble.
There is a place, I know;
It is possible to say everything;

I am pretty close, I can feel;
I can't tell.

Orhan Veli Kanık

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I hope you will like turkish poems.. if you have any question about it no hasitate to ask...

warm regards,

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