Poem 40 In Solidarity: A Story (in English,Turkish,German,Italian,French)

Jeffrey Kahrs

A Story

I held my tongue till I couldn’t taste anything.
It wasn’t always like this.
I hoped for the rise of tolerant reason
from behind the shadows of guns.
But the government began erasing
any word that didn’t come from
their dictionary. I waited and fed
as they gave us token morsels.
Beside, who else was there to believe in?
Then their billy clubs bashed in heads
and pepper gas billowed like great sails.
It was brutal. But at least the wind began
in tears and my tongue regained its feeling.
I could taste the chanting voices.
Who expects miracles? I don’t,
but this was my chance to let go
of my tongue. I have done this.

Bir Oyku

Hic bir seyin tadini alamayana kadar dilimi tuttum
hep boyle degildi
hosgorulu bir anlayis yukselir diye umdum
silahlarin golgesinin arkasindan
sonra silmeye basladilar
kendi sozluklerinden gelmeyen
her sozu. bekledim ve yuttum
bize verdikleri kirintilari
baska ne vardi ki inanacak?
sonra joplari kafalarda patladi
biber gazlari dev yelkenler gibi kabardi
acimasizdi. ama en azindan ruzgar basladi
gozyaslarinda ve yeniden hissettim dilimi
tadabiliyordum kalabaliktan yukselen sesleri
kim mucize bekler ? ben degil.
bu benim dilimi cozme sansimdi. iste ben bunu yaptim.

Eine Geschichte

Ich hielt den Mund bis meine Zunge nichts mehr
schmeckte. Es war nicht immer so.
Ich dachte, aus dem Schatten der Kanonen
könnten Vernunft und Toleranz neu erstehen.
Dann begann die Regierung jedes Wort
auszuradieren, das in ihrem Lexikon
nicht vorkam. Ich war geduldig, verteilte Happen
von Freiheit die sie uns mit Nachdruck gaben.
War außer mir noch jemand so naiv?
Dann kamen sie mit Schlagstöcken, prügelten
auf Köpfe, der Qualm von Tränengas war überall.
Brutal. Doch schließlich begann die Zukunft
mit den Tränen, ich spürte meine Zunge wieder,
schmeckte den Gesang der Stimmen.
Erwartet jemand noch ein Wunder? Ich nicht,
aber ich habe die Gelegenheit, meiner Zunge
freien Lauf zu lassen. Ich habe es getan.

Tr: Hans Thill
http://translateforjustice.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/eine-geschichte/

Una storia

Ho trattenuto la mia lingua fino a non sentire piú i sapori.
Non é sempre stato cosí.
Ho sperato che la ragione tollerante fuoriuscisse
da dietro le ombre delle pistole.
Poi il governo ha cominciato a cancellare ogni parola
che non fosse nel suo vocabolario. Ho aspettato e ingoiato
mentre ci davano simbolici bocconi di libertá.
Chi altro ci crederá?
Poi i loro manganelli hanno spaccato teste
e il fumo del gas urticante al pepe sembrava dappertutto.
É stato brutale. Ma almeno il futuro é cominciato
in lacrime e la mia lingua ha riacquistato sensibilitá.
Potevo assaporare le voci e gli slogan.
Chi si aspetta il miracolo? Io no.
Ma questa é un’occasione per liberare la mia lingua e l’ho fatto.

Tr: Anna Valerio

J’ai tenu ma langue, jusqu’à ne plus pouvoir goûter quoi que ce soit.
Ce n’était pas toujours comme ça.
J’avais l’espoir que la tolérance raisonnée puisse grandir
derrière l’ombre des fusils.
Mais le gouvernement a commencé à effacer
tous les mots qui ne venaient pas
de son dictionnaire. J’ai attendu, et je me suis nourri
des miettes de liberté qu’ils nous donnaient.
Et d’ailleurs, en qui d’autre aurais-je pu croire ?
Et puis leurs matraques ont cognés nos têtes
et la fumée des gaz lacrymogènes semblait flotter partout.
C’était brutal. Mais au moins, l’avenir est né
dans les larmes et ma langue a retrouvé son sens du goût.
Je pouvais goûter les voix qui chantaient.
Qui s’attend à des miracles ? Pas moi,
mais c’est ma chance de donner sa liberté
à ma langue. Et ceci, je l’ai fait.

Tr: Dominique Blachon

Jefrrey Kahrs

Jefrrey Kahrs

Jeff Kahrs was born in the Hague, Netherlands, and was raised in California. He received a B.A. in Dramatic Literature from U.C. Santa Cruz and an M.A. from Boston University, where he studied with Derek Walcott and Leslie Epstein. He worked for many years as a commercial fisherman in Alaska.

From 1993 to 2011 he lived in Istanbul, where he worked primarily as a teacher. While living there he co-edited an issue of the Atlanta Review on poetry in Turkey, was published in Subtropics, mediterranean.nu. He also co-edited, with Başak Ergil, a section of the Turkish magazine Çevirmenin Nötu on English-language poets in Istanbul.

He recently finished writing a history of the Deep Sea Fishermen’s Union of the Pacific to celebrate their 100th anniversary, and the translations he did with Hatice Ören of Gülten Akın were published this year at the 5th Annual Nazim Hikmet Poetry Festival in Cary, North Carolina.

After living and working in Istanbul for almost 20 years, he is currently residing in Seattle,U.S.A.

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