Shade by Behçet Necatigil

street shadow


The stretching shade of mid-afternoon sun

Goes, stays in front of old houses

If memories have begun then evening is near

Clouds hasten above your head.


This flashback reminds you

Of fiery deserts you’ve crossed

You were exhausted, walking without shade

No drop of water, nor date palm tree.


The stretching shade of mid-afternoon sun

comes from the heat of midday you escaped

all the cool, again is

Summer, sounds of joy in street alleys.


It’s short, the shade of mid-afternoon sun

It will go soon, melt in the collapsing dark

Summer evenings in simple neighbourhoods

There were people sitting, you know, before their doors.


Safe in your elongating shadow

You don’t think of yesterday or tomorrow

We come to this world but once

I’m glad you heard!


Savour the essence of life, at the end

In whichever cool of congested streets

As your shadow draws back tomorrow

So you’ll be just like those before the doors..


Poet: B.Necatigil, from ‘Eski Toprak’

Translator: C.Stockford

Translated at the Cunda Interntional Workshop for Translators of Turkish Literature 2015


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