Poems by Nazim Hikmet

Poet, playwright and writer, born wednesday november 20, 1901 in Thessaloniki (Greece), died monday june 3, 1963 in Moscow (Russian Federation)
You can find this author also in Quotes & Aphorisms.

Our Eyes

Our eyes
are limpid
drops of water.

In each drop exists
a tiny sign
of our genius
which has given life to cold iron.

Our eyes
are limpid
drops of water
merged absolutely in the Ocean
that you could hardly recognize
the drop in a block of ice
in a boiling pan.

The masterpiece of these eyes
the fulfillment of their genius
the living iron.

In these eyes
filled with limpid
pure tears
had failed to emerge
from the infinite Ocean
if the strength
had dispersed,
we could never have mated
the dynamo with the turbine,
never have moved
those steel mountains in water
as if made of hollow wood.

The masterpiece of these eyes
the fulfillment of their genius
of our unified labour
the living iron.
Nazim Hikmet
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    Last Will And Testament

    Comrades, if I don't live to see the day
    I mean, if I die before freedom comes
    take me away
    and bury me in a village cemetery in Anatolia.

    The worker Osman whom Hassan Bey ordered shot
    can lie on one side of me, and on the other side
    the martyr Aysha, who gave birth in the rye
    and died inside of forty days.

    Tractors and songs can pass below the cemetery - -
    in the dawn light, new people, the smell of burnt gasoline,
    fields held in common, water in canals,
    no drought or fear of the police.

    Of course, we won't hear those songs:
    the dead lie stretched out underground
    and rot like black branches,
    deaf, dumb, and blind under the earth.
    Nazim Hikmet
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      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.
      Nazim Hikmet
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        As a child he never plucked the wings off flies
        he didn't tie tin cans to cats' tails
        or lock beetles in matchboxes
        or stomp anthills
        he grew up
        and all those things were done to him
        I was at his bedside when he died
        he said read me a poem
        about the sun and the sea
        about nuclear reactors and satellites
        about the greatness of humanity.
        Nazim Hikmet
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          Because of you, each day is a melon slice
          smelling sweetly of earth
          Because of you, all fruits reach out to me
          as if I were the sun.
          Thanks to you, I live on the honey of hope.
          You are the reason my heart beats.
          Because of you, even my loneliest nights
          smile like an Anatolian kilim on your wall.
          Should my journey end before I reach my city,
          I've rested in a rose garden thanks to you.
          Because of you I don't let death enter,
          clothed in the softest garments,
          and knocking on my door with songs
          calling me to the greatest place.
          Nazim Hikmet
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            Looking at this insolent earth,
            you hear the first battle cry of our species-
            trap it under a rock
            and together, screaming, attack
            and destroy it, as if killing a mammoth.
            Nazim Hikmet
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              And it's looking more and more likely
              bury me in a village cemetery in Anatolia,
              and if there's one handy,
              a plane tree could stand at my head,
              I wouldn't need a stone or anything.
              Nazim Hikmet
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                If instead of being hanged by the neck
                you're thrown inside
                for not giving up hope
                in the world, your country, your people,
                if you do ten or fifteen years
                apart from the time you have left,
                you won't say,
                "Better I had swung from the end of a rope
                like a flag"
                You'll put your foot down and live.

                It may not be a pleasure exactly,
                but it's your solemn duty
                to live one more day
                to spite the enemy.

                Part of you may live alone inside,
                like a tone at the bottom of a well.

                But the other part
                must be so caught up
                in the flurry of the world
                that you shiver there inside
                when outside, at forty days'distance, a leaf moves.

                To wait for letters inside,
                to sing sad songs,
                or to lie awake all night staring at the ceiling
                is sweet but dangerous.

                Look at your face from shave to shave,
                forget your age,
                watch out for lice
                and for spring nights,
                and always remember
                to eat every last piece of bread--
                also, don't forget to laugh heartily.

                And who knows,
                the woman you love may stop loving you.

                Don't say it's no big thing:
                it's like the snapping of a green branch
                to the man inside.

                To think of roses and gardens inside is bad,
                to think of seas and mountains is good.

                Read and write without rest,
                and I also advise weaving
                and making mirrors.

                I mean, it's not that you can't pass
                ten or fifteen years inside
                and more
                you can,
                as long as the jewel
                on the left side of your chest doesn't lose it's luster!

                Nazim Hikmet About My Poetry
                I have no silver-saddled horse to ride,
                no inheritance to live on,
                neither riches no real-estate
                a pot of honey is all I own.

                A pot of honey
                red as fire!

                My honey is my everything.

                I guard
                my riches and my real-estate
                - - my honey pot, I mean - -
                from pests of every species,
                Brother, just wait.

                As long as I've got
                honey in my pot,
                bees will come to it
                from Timbuktu.
                Nazim Hikmet
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