Thursday, April 10, 2008

Introduction: "I Come And Stand At Every Door" Nazim Hikmet

Nazim Hikmet
“I Come And Stand At Every Door”

Hikmet, Nazim. "Poetry Of Nazim Kikmet Ran." I Come And Stand At Every Door. 01 Jan 2004. 22 Mar 2008 . .

This particular selection is a very interesting text that had a profound following in many folk circles of the 1960’s. This poem, written by Nazim Hikmet, had been a staple of the anti-war protest songs arranged by various folk artists in their effort against the war. The poem was originally written as a solemn plea for humanity to live in peace, a fitting cry for justice for the young ones of our future. With poignant and chilling lines such as “I'm only seven although I died/In Hiroshima long ago/I'm seven now as I was then/When children die they do not grow…” (Line 5-8), one may come to think of Vietnam as a vivid mirror of what happened so long ago.

I particularly enjoyed how the poem is very thought provoking and it offers a very different point of view of the world and its many disturbances. Those 4 lines above, convey a very harrowing message that is still relevant today as it was in the sixties for many of the musicians who arranged this poem to their music. It was a bold, but bittersweet statement that had affected many. This poem is a powerful look into what makes literature and word such a magnificent tool to shape our lives. I also enjoy the musical arrangement by The Byrds, from their 1966 Columbia/Legacy album Eight Miles High.

I cannot really find a poem that we have read in class that deals with this particular subject. I did, however, find connections between this poem and the way Auden’s “Musee des Beaux Arts” had been constructed. Looking at a catastrophe and creating imagery from illustrations both real and fable.


Feras said...

i like this post it really made me want to read this.

Marissa said...

Haunting poem! I find it interesting that you said this was an anti-war poem in the 60s? How odd and ironic, then, that lines 17 & 18 ("All that I ask is that for peace / You fight today, you fight today") are actually supporting that paradoxical idea of fighting for peace.

Jackson said...

Great choice of poem. There sure was lots of anti-war music and or poetry that came out of the sixties and much of it fits with the climate today as well. I always liked "The Morning Dew" written by Bonnie Dobson. I have never heard her version, I am only familiar with the Grateful Dead's version. It is a troubling song about a post nuclear war event. If you are interested you can always download the song from any number of sites that offer downloadable Grateful Dead shows for free.

Mrs. Bedwin said...

I also find it very interesting that this is an anti-war poem, yet the child asks that we fight in order to find peace. This certainly caught my attention and made me think about the whole concept of fighting for peace.
The lines, "I'm seven now as I was then/ When children die they do not grow" and " I need no fruit, I need no rice I/need no sweet, nor even bread /I ask for nothing for myself" are particularly gripping and heart-wrenching as they focus on the absence of what is normal for a living child ( being able to age and grow, being able to eat).

Öner said...

Hi everybody,

I'm a native Turkish speaker and let me just clear one point for you.

Marissa and Christie made a very good point there. Calling people for fight is a paradoxical idea and seems odd.

The thing is that the translator seems to have translated the poem in a quite free manner and added those lines. In the original Turkish version Nazim don't have those lines.

The original poem and Engin Gündüz's translation (as close to literal as possible) are here:

Kapıları çalan benim / It's me who knocks
Kapıları birer birer / the doors one by one.
Gözünüze görünemem / You can't see me
Göze görünmez ölüler / deads are invisible.

Hiroşimada öleli / It has been around ten years
Oluyor bir on yıl kadar/ since I've died in Hiroshima.
Yedi yaşında bir kızım / I'm a seven years old girl
Büyümez ölü çocuklar / and dead children do not grow.

Saçlarım tutuştu önce / First my hair caught fire,
Gözlerim yandı kavruldu / and my eyes burnt.
Bir avuç kül oluverdim / I've turned into a handful of ash,
Külüm havaya savruldu / and that was scattered into the air.

Benim sizden kendim için / I don't ask you for anything
Hiçbir şey istediğim yok. / for myself.
Şeker bile yiyemez ki / Cannot eat even candy
Kağıt gibi yanan çocuk / A child who burns like a piece of paper

Çalıyorum kapınızı / I knock your door,
Teyze, amca, bir imza ver. / dear lady, dear sir, give me a signature
Çocuklar öldürülmesin / so that children won't get killed,
Şeker de yiyebilsinler / so that they can eat candy.

Nazım Hikmet Ran

and I also strongly suggest you to listen Turkish pianist and composer Fazil Say's version of this poem:



Öner said...

Oh by the way...

Nazim has a couple of poems with a similar subject. One of them is "The Japanese Fisherman" :


Man from Japan, Oh, fisherman, poor young man,
At work out at sea, and death dropped our of the sky,
And here is the song that your comrades sing
A song of death, of those whose faze is to die.

Who eats of the fish, will perish,
Who touches our hands, will perish,
Our boar is a scow of anguish,
Who comes on our boat, will perish.

Who eats of our fish, will perish,
And not at once, but, oh, so slowly,
For slow is the rot that eats their flesh,
Who eats of our fish will perish.

Who touches our hands, will perish,
These hands that worked 'till work was done,
Made dry by salt and burned by sun-
Who touches our hands, will perish,
And not at once, but, oh, so slowly,
For slow is the rot that eats their flesh.
Who touches our hands will perish.

Man from Japan, Oh, fisherman, poor young man,
At work our at sea, and death dropped out of the sky,
And here is the song that our comrades sing
A song of death, of those whose fate is to die.

Forget me, oh, love, forget me,
This boat is but death to float me,
Who comes on this boat will perish,
For death in a cloud caressed me.

Forger me, oh, love, forget me,
My darling you must not kiss me,
Now only dark death may kiss me,
Forget me, oh, love, forget me.

Our boat is a scow of sorrow,
For us, oh, my love, no morrow.
No child of our love, my darling,
No flesh of our flesh, my darling,
Our hope is a boat of sorrow-
My people, where are you, oh, where?
Oh, don't forsake me, not now, good comrades, the fate
of man you must share.

anna paidoussi said...

years later i find this post.......
in looking for the hikmet poem (the Byrds sang the pete seeger version btw)
A. literal translation from the Turkish is good to see.
B. "fight for Peace" is a slogan that works- Not an oxymoron.
until it is used as an actual war battle cry.

fight as in struggle ,as in put in the effort ,as in go against the many,
place focus on , etcetcetc.
i love u all especially, you.