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Dead

Fazıl Hüsnü Dağlarca
  • Fazıl Hüsnü Dağlarca
  • Whichever neighborhood has no clergyman
  • I shall die there.
  • Let no one see how beautiful
  • Are all the things I have, my feet, my hair.
  • In the name of the dead, free and immaculate,
  • A fish in unknown seas,
  • Am I not a Muslim, heaven knows,
  • Yet no crowds for me, please.
  • Don’t let them make me wear a shroud,
  • In sky safeguard my darkness from misery,
  • Don’t shake me as I go from shoulder to shoulder,
  • For all my parts are fancy free.
  • No prayer can turn my remoteness
  • From the other worlds into a reality.
  • Don’t let them wash my body, don’t:
  • I am madly in love with the warmth inside me.

by Fazıl Hüsnü Dağlarca (trans. Talat Sait Halman)

Fazıl Hüsnü Dağlarca (1914–2008) was a prolific and celebrated Turkish poet with more than 60 collections of verse to his name. His insistence on a purist approach to the Turkish language brought a sense of renewal to Turkish literature and focused on philosophical, theological, and political themes. As a testament to his popularity and despite his request in “Dead,” his funeral was not held in private — but became a public affair of state. The wake and funeral ceremony were held in an opera house in Istanbul, attended by a crowd of Turkish politicians and military officers as well as family and Turkey’s literati.

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