Nazim Hikmet

(1902-1963 / Turkey)

Letter To My Wife


11-11-1933
Bursa Prison
My one and only!
Your last letter says:
"My head is throbbing,
my heart is stunned!"
You say:
"If they hang you,
if I lose you,
I'll die!"
You'll live, my dear--
my memory will vanish like black smoke in the wind.
Of course you'll live, red-haired lady of my heart:
in the twentieth century
grief lasts
at most a year.

Death--
a body swinging from a rope.
My heart
can't accept such a death.
But
you can bet
if some poor gypsy's hairy black
spidery hand
slips a noose
around my neck,
they'll look in vain for fear
in Nazim's
blue eyes!
In the twilight of my last morning
I
will see my friends and you,
and I'll go
to my grave
regretting nothing but an unfinished song...
My wife!
Good-hearted,
golden,
eyes sweeter than honey--my bee!
Why did I write you
they want to hang me?
The trial has hardly begun,
and they don't just pluck a man's head
like a turnip.
Look, forget all this.
If you have any money,
buy me some flannel underwear:
my sciatica is acting up again.
And don't forget,
a prisoner's wife
must always think good thoughts.


Trans. by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk (1993)

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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