On Living

2002-02-12

A Jabber acquaintance of mine in Istanbul let me know about the poet Nazim Hikmet, whom I'd never heard of before. Naturally I can't read his poetry in Turkish so I'm sure I'm missing a lot. Hikmet is probably best known for his poem "On Living", which begins like this:

Living is no laughing matter:
you must live with great seriousness
like a squirrel, for example --
I mean without looking for something beyond and above living,
I mean living must be your whole occupation.

I also like the following (one of his "9-10 P.M. Poems"):

The most beautiful sea hasn't been crossed yet.
The most beautiful child hasn't grown up yet.
Our most beautiful days we haven't seen yet.
And the most beautiful words I wanted to tell you I haven't said yet...

The translations are by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk. I'll try to find links for them and for Hikmet.


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