Blood by Behçet Necatigil

 

Blood

Within sheaths and layers, blood cannot be seen
A pink wave on rose cheeks
A blue ribbon on snow-white hands
Red blood cells suddenly drop
In blind wells, lost

Family traits passed on in white milk
Greed hides for years in a generous soul
Ugliness in the skin-tight shirt of a beauty
Imposes itself on a coming generation
Blood can’t be seen buried under the skin

The murderer, psychopath, the epileptic
Wakes, having slipped into transient sleep
A dirty drop seeping from far-distant breasts
A poor soul still in childhood
Suffers sins of faces he’s never seen

Year upon year a friend hides his enmity
Pus building up within
Releasing its familiar voice through us alone
The buried link in the chain of genes
Awakes, slyness of the deep exposed

Blue or red
Leaks down from deaths
Arriving in strange feelings
A so-distant relative lives in our body
Suckles the same hope as us in our sleep

Suddenly a thin vein is blocked by a blood clot
One always cheerful, never seen to be sad
Hears from a secret voice hushed in his artery
The awful news that toppled his grandfather
And collapses whilst walking the street

Ferhat and Kerem walk towards a mirage
Their legs are tired, the road is long
Thirsty for Şirin, hungry for Aslı
They are united, is that the lot?
Blood pushes, it is weary.
Held back by shame, pride and fear
On the outside people veil what they say
topped with foam
Blood
Says everything
Openly.

Eve lives on in blood from girls and women
In guns and knives
Cain
Lives on

Tomato carnation cherry blood
Sun fire coral winter summer blood
Humankind earth water air
First there was blood
Only later
Came white

 

Behçet Necatigil

(Varlık, 418, 1 Mayıs 1955)

translated by Caroline Stockford and Arzu Eker-Roditakis

at the 2015 Cunda International Workshop for Translators of Turkish Literature

 

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