Nazim Hikmet: A Sad State Of Freedom

You waste the attention of your eyes,
the glittering labour of your hands,
and knead the dough enough for dozens of loaves
of which you’ll taste not a morsel;
you are free to slave for others–
you are free to make the rich richer.

The moment you’re born
they plant around you
mills that grind lies
lies to last you a lifetime.
You keep thinking in your great freedom
a finger on your temple
free to have a free conscience.

Your head bent as if half-cut from the nape,
your arms long, hanging,
your saunter about in your great freedom:
you’re free
with the freedom of being unemployed.

You love your country
as the nearest, most precious thing to you.
But one day, for example,
they may endorse it over to America,
and you, too, with your great freedom–
you have the freedom to become an air-base.

You may proclaim that one must live
not as a tool, a number or a link
but as a human being–
then at once they handcuff your wrists.
You are free to be arrested, imprisoned
and even hanged.

There’s neither an iron, wooden
nor a tulle curtain
in your life;
there’s no need to choose freedom:
you are free.
But this kind of freedom
is a sad affair under the stars.

As a communist, Nâzım Hikmet is declared by the Turkish state as a traitor. Imprisoned for many years, he dies in exile.

Persecuted and imprisoned in his own lifetime and his books and poems banned, the overwhelming majority of the Turkish people today revere Nâzım Hikmet. At the turn of the 21st century over 500,000 Turks sign a petition demanding that the government restore Nazim Hikmet’s citizenship.

He is one of the great poets of the twentieth century.

 

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One response to this post.

  1. […] Read more: Nazim Hikmet: A Sad State Of Freedom « Patrick Mac Manus's Blog […]

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