About Mount Uludag
For seven years now Uludag and I have been staring each other in the eye.
It hasn't moved an inch,
and neither have I,
yet we know each other well.
Like all living things, it knows how to laugh and how to get mad.
in winter, especially at night,
when the wind blows from the south,
with its snowy forests, plateaus, and frozen lakes
it turns over in its sleep,
and the Old Man who lives way up there at the very top
his long beard flying,
rides howling on the wind down into the valley . . .
especially in May, at sunup,
it rises like a brand-new world
huge, blue, vast,
free and happy.
Then there are days
when it looks like its picture on the pop bottles.
And then I understand that in its hotel I can't see
lady skiers sipping cognac
and flirting with gentlemen skiers.
And the day comes
when one of its beetle-browed mountain folk, having
butchered his neighbor at the altar of sacred property,
comes to us as a guest in his yellow homespun trousers
to do fifteen years in cellblock 71.
Turkish; trans. Randy Blasing & Mutlu Konuk
Nazim Hikmet, Turkish, trans. Randy Blasing & Mutlu Konuk, Poems of Nazim
Hikmet, Persea Books, 1994.