The Green Duck – by Haydar Ergülen

The Green Duck

…and just as I’d chosen that green dress for you
your eyes came to mind, I looked,
but your eyes were not green enough for this poem
besides I’d never seen you cry,
and it was pointless
seeking the traces of tears in the eyes
of one who’se words are nothing but lies
the month was June supposedly, April and September
stumbled arm in arm like a couple of drunks
passing our road, their eyes full of rain
then I knew why songs in a downpour sound stammered
‘Ask the apple about love, don’t ask me’, look at the rain
I’ve no room left within, place the pain outside of me!
Had I a shirt of green I’d have joined in all your songs
I have no shirt of green and that child, he isn’t me
that child is at the age of rhymes, I can’t rain grief on him
someone else wanders your body, and the pain of it crushes my soul
whosoever opens his shirt to you, let him write you his poetry
on flesh, tattoos will fade, but on the soul they stay the same
I’ve been tatooed by the drumming rain
it’s best not to eat the greenest plums,                                                                   don’t moan to me when your belly thrums
and if you catch a cold let someone else fetch you a green scarf
but remember no-one sings the folk song as profoundly as me
‘and I dived in the lakes like a green, green duck’
have I never sung it you, then that means I’ve never seen
not one drop of tears, bitter rain, on your lashes
take offence, ignore me then, don’t ever come past our street again!

Poem by (c)Haydar Ergülen

Translated by Caroline Stockford at the Cunda International Workshop

for Translators of Turkish Literature, 2013

This poem appears in Turkish Poetry Today, Isse 3, 2015, edited by George Messo

available from:


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