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The Awaited

Mayıs26

One can appreciate many poems, short stories, novels, paintings, songs; yet certain works of art affect you in a peculiar yet deep way, so much that they haunt you. The following Turkish poem has had a similar effect on me. Although I put the English translation, I know that it will not give the same feeling as the original one. So you can listen to the original poem from the voice of its poet here.

Beklenen / The Awaited

Ne hasta bekler sabahı, / Neither the sick waits for the morning
Ne taze ölüyü mezar. / Nor the grave for the fresh dead
Ne de şeytan, bir günahı, / Nor Satan for a sin
Seni beklediğim kadar. / As long as I have waited for you.

Geçti istemem gelmeni, / Too late, I don’t want you to come
Yokluğunda buldum seni; / I have found you in your absence
Bırak vehmimde gölgeni / Leave your shadow in my delusion
Gelme, artık neye yarar? / Don’t come, what good is it now?

Necip Fazıl Kısakürek
1930

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I was only nine years old when my father read this poem to me but I remember being mesmerized by the beauty of the words as they came from his mouth in such elegance and with a naive yet fatherly passion to introduce her daughter the world of poetry. I remember getting my first poetry book, “Cile” by Necip Fazil Kisakurek, the poet of this poem. As I read this poem again and again over years, I began to realize that its meaning had grown deeper and greater for me. Every year had added a new layer to my interpretation; a layer I did not know existed before. Now, I will try to convey what this poem means to me at this stage of my life.

The Awaited by Necip Fazil Kisakurek is an exceptional example of poetry that tackles the theme of “waiting for the beloved” in the light of striking feelings such as longing, reproach, pride and exasperation. With its short form consisting of only eight lines, the poem stands out as a very concise yet meaningful form of literary expression.

The poem consists of two characters: “I” who is the narrator and “You” who is the addressed. In the first three lines of the poem, the narrator points out the extreme cases of the act of waiting in life, and in the fourth line, he concludes the first stanza by emphasizing the lengthiness of the time he has waited for his beloved one. The extreme examples in the first three lines serve to accentuate the extraordinariness of his commitment to his beloved. An entire night the sick spends in pain or the time the dead waits until burial or the patience and diligence Satan portrays to be able to catch a sin… None of these examples can be compared to the suffering, patience and commitment the narrator has demonstrated while waiting for his beloved: his love, longing and loyalty are all superior to the intense feelings illustrated in these extreme examples.

At this point, an exasperated and almost reproachful tone begins to take over the poem: the narrator does not want her to come back anymore because the exceedingly lengthy time that has passed since she left has gradually turned the feelings of love and longing into pride and exasperation.
The second line of the second stanza, “I have found you in your absence”, can be interpreted through a Sufi point of view. Sufism is a mystic system mainly within Islam, which has the goal of uniting with God through spiritual love and endurance. Looking through this lens, one can say that the “you” used in this line is not same as the “you” used in the rest of the poem; the romantic love the narrator had for his beloved and the endurance he has shown while waiting for her have come to such an extreme point that it helped him find divine love. Thus, he has “found (God) in (her) absence”. The subtle double meaning inherent in this line seemed really striking to me. It reminded me of “Layla and Majnun”, a very famous ancient Middle-eastern love story, where Majnun had experienced the same transition: his romantic love for Layla and the endurance he has shown had helped him find divine love, which was eternal in contrast to the mortal love he had for Layla.

Although the poem is in a form that I personally would not prefer to use while writing poetry (with its strict rhythm and rhyme scheme), I understand that it reflects a very popular view regarding poetry and form in the 1930’s Turkish literature, and overall, I still love this poem! I wonder how many different layers I will discover as I keep coming back to “The Awaited” at different stages in my life.
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Click here for my Turkish essay on the same poem.

Yeri: English
4 Yorum

“The Awaited”

  1. Haziran 4th, 2014 - 14:57 Beklemek ve Beklenen | Java Günlüğüm Diyor ki:

    […] ilgili sınıfında paylaşımda bulunmuş. Bunu da “The Awaited” başlığı altında burada yayımladı. Belli ki benim gibi onu da çok etkilemiş bir şiir. Beni sevindiren şey ise bu […]

  2. Temmuz 22nd, 2014 - 05:56 sercinho Diyor ki:

    you said ‘I personally would not prefer to use while writing poetry ‘
    I completely agree with you. I write a short inscription I like N. Fazıl
    and other layers this page interest me

  3. Temmuz 24th, 2014 - 00:38 Sevde Diyor ki:

    Thank you for your comment! 🙂

  4. Ağustos 4th, 2014 - 18:27 Babacik Diyor ki:

    Lovely, beautiful, gorgeous. All these can be felt in your essay.