This is the Mengene mountain When dawn creeps up at the lake Van This is the child of Nimrod When dawn creeps up against the Nimrod One side of you is avalanches, the Caucasian sky The other side a rug, Persia At mountain tops glaciers, in bunches Fugitive pigeons at water-pools And herds of deer And partridge flocks...
Their courage cannot be denied In one-to-one fights they are unbeaten These thousand years, the servants of this area Come, how shall we give the news? This is not a flock of cranes Nor a constellation in the sky But a heart with thirty-three bullets Thirty-three rivers of blood Not flowing All calmed to a lake on this mountain
A rabbit came up from the foot of the hill Its back is motley Its belly milk-white A mountain rabbit, pregnant, lost up here Its heart heaved to its mouth, poor thing It can draw repentance from man. The hour was solitary, a solitary time It was faultless, naked dawn One of the thirty-three looked In his body the heavy void of hunger Hair and beard all tangled Lice on his collar He looked, and his arms were wounded This lad with hellion heart Looked once at the rabbit Then looked behind His delicate carbine came to his mind Sulking under his pillow Then came the young mare he brought from the plain of Harran Her mane blue-beaded A blaze on her forehead Three fetlocks white Her cantering easy and generous His chesnut mare How they had flown in front of Hozat!
If he were not now Helpless and tied like this The cold barrel of a gun behind him He could have hidden on these heights These mountains, the friendly mountains, know your worth Thank God, my hands will not put me to shame These hands that can flick off with the first shot The burning tobacco ash Or the tongue of the viper Sparkling in the sun These eyes were not duped even once By the ravines waiting for avalanches By the soft, snowy betrayal of cliffs These knowing eyes No use He was going to be shot The order was final Now the blind reptiles will devour his eyes The vultures his heart.
In a solitary corner of the mountains At the hour of morning prayer I lie stretched Long, bloody... I have been shot My dreams are darker than night No one can find a good omen in them My life gone before its time I cannot put it into words A pasha sends a codded message And I am shot, without inquest, without judgment
Kinsman, write my story as it is Or they might think it a fable These are not rosy nipples But a dumdum bullet Shattered in my mouth...
They applied the decree of death They stained The half-awakened wind of dawn And the blue mist of the Nimrod In blood They stacked their guns there Searched us Feeling our corpses They took away My red sash of Kermanshah weave My prayer beads and tobacco pouch And left Those were all gifts to me from friends All from the Persian lands
We are guardians, relatives, tied by blood We exchange with families Across the river Our daughters, these many centuries we are neighbours Shoulder to shoulder Our chickens mingle together Not out of ignorance But poverty We never got used to passports This is the guilt that kills us We end up Being called Bandits Killers Traitors...
Kinsman, write my story as it is Or they might think it a fable These are not rosy nipples But a dumdum bullet Shattered in my mouth
Shoot, bastards Shoot me I do not die easyly I am live under the ashes I have words buried in my belly For those who understand My father gave his eyes on the Urfa front And gave his three brothers Three young cypresses Three chunks of mountain without their share of life And when friends, guardians, kin Met the French bullets Out of towers, hills, minarets
My young uncle Nazif His moustache still new Handsome Light Good horseman Shoot, brothers, he said Shoot This is the day of honour And reared his horse... Kindsman, write my story as it is Or they might think it a fable These are not rosy nipples But a dumdum bullet Shattered in my mouth...
Translated by Murat-Nemet NEJAT