Sonnet of the Wishing Stone by Enis Batur


If I were rain, and on your earth could rain

If I were a candle, could light your way

If I were fire, could set your bed aflame

If I were a pen, could write on your page


If I were sky, carmine blue

If I were desert, scorpion yellow

If I were stone, heavy black

If I were water, froth white


If I were a soul, if I could fly, a bird

If I were flesh, if I could swell, the sea

If I were body, if I could blow, the wind


If I were mist, could drop upon you, morning

If I were cloud, descend to your world, evening

If I were a candle, could expire inside you, night.


poet:  Enis Batur

translated: Cas Stockford

at DAM, Istanbul, September 2016


Nicola by küçük İskender



you decerebrate the rose. don’t do this.

verses, cannot find the poems they deserted

you become a humiliated evening

your hair wet to your waist

your eyes

turned away and fixed on a couple of cracked glasses

left on a claret, velvet coverlet

almost exploded. Soon to blow

before the storm

closely sheilding your face, poor and lonely child

storyless, bashful and amicable

you should have a macedonian name: nicola

I sat on your balcony, drank Choπcko beer,

over the way were

grand men wounded by the earth

grand women are sleeping

grand women wounded on account of grand men

turned into tramps by grand men

a pen knife, holds its blade inside like a secret

the pen knife I put on the table on leaving

a perfect portrayal

if it were nicola what would appear

if it were İskender what would appear

somehow, not far away

was a beautiful graveyard where songs are laid

poet: küçük İskender

translator: caroline stockford

First published in translation in Assaracus Journal of Gay Poetry, Feb 2016

‘They looked at me’ by Ah Muhsin Ünlü



                while walking in the street today

                all the girls looked my way

                allah allah!

                why are they all looking at me?  I asked myself

                later on, to my surprise, I realised

                I’d been wearing Murat’s shirt



poet: Ah Muhsin Ünlü

translator: Caroline Stockford

publisher:  Sel Publications 2005, 2013, 17th edition.

book title:  gidiyorum bu

About the poet:  Ah Muhsin Ünlü was born in İzmit in 1973.  He lived his life from the age of six as a student, for twenty-three years.  He began writing poetry at quarter to six on the evening of the 22nd of June 1993 and stopped at twenty past eleven on the morning of the 4th of September 1998.  He hopes for favourable conditions to prevail one day under which to pursue poetry once again.



Night Butterfly, Kurdish novel excerpt

An excerpt from Chapter One of ‘Night Butterfly’ by Haydar Karataş – translation in progress.

This is the true story of his mother and grandmother’s experiences in Dersim, Turkey in the 1930s and 1940s when the majority of Kurdish men living in Dersim had been marched into forced exile or massacred by Turkish military troops.  Women and children were left stranded, starving in their villages after the soldiers had burned all the crops and taken their livestock (and man power) away.



After the Armenian incident my father and his brother Sahan took over the administration of the Bactrian tribes from their father Yusuf Ağa. They, and the armed men they had gathered to their side, were responsible for security in the Bactrian region. They also wanted to bring my mother’s four children by her earlier marriage to this household. These were times when clashes were frequent and increasing.

At the time in the Bactrian region there were the armed bands of Yusuf Ağa’s two sons, Sahan and Hıdır and also the armed band led by Pırço. Pırço’s outfit was extremely brave and were dressed from head to toe in armour taken from the Bronze soldiers. The Bronze Hun army attacked Dersim on two occasions from the direction of Erzincan but were never able to fully enter. When the soldiers of 1938 entered Dersim the armed bands of my uncle Sahan and my father Hıdır joined forces with that of Pırço.

They set off to bring my mother’s children from her first marriage to Weroz. Baki, who was working in a salt mine in Kemah was now fourteen years old and Ali Riza was eleven or twelve. Their little brother Hasan, eight, was also with them. Soldiers had raided the village of Eniesıt where they had been living and marched the entire village off into exile somewhere beyond Erzincan. Those who managed to escape fled to the Bactrian region. When my uncle Sahan, my father and Pırço heard that two children had been taken along with the villagers they set off after the soldiers.

They came as far as Kemah. There they managed to overtake the soldiers in a valley near a former Armenian refugee village1 that had been emptied of all inhabitants during the Armenian incident. They confronted the soldiers and there followed a heavy clash in which the forces of my uncle, father and Pırço killed many soldiers and took possession of their guns, horses and provisions. However, they failed to find the captives who were being marched into exile from Ovacık and therefore had to return to the village of Eniesıt.

There they found out that the men and boys who formed the line being marched into exile had all been executed along the way. Baki had been in that group. As they put a manacle around his neck and led him off on the road, his brother Ali Riza had managed to escape and had followed the column of captives as far as the refugee village.

The villagers told my father that the soldiers set up camp with the group of men they were marching into exile just below the village and handed the captives over to another regiment as the day was drawing to a close. Towards morning screams were heard. The villagers couldn’t understand what had happened. Then they discovered that the entire group of captives had been bayoneted.

The place where the group of men and boys being marched into exile were killed was a flat crop field. The next day, soldiers on duty spotted Ali Riza who had been following the group. The child ran off in the direction of the refugee village and, if what the villagers said was true, those now living in the village hid Ali Riza. The soldiers searched the village and gathered all the inhabitants in one place but they still could not find the child. When Ali Riza looked out of the window of the house he was hiding in, to see what was going on, he was spotted and taken captive by the soldiers.

The man who was hiding him in his house said that he’d taken him in with the intention of making him his shepherd. The commander in charge of the soldiers claimed that the boy was an Armenian. They gave his clothing to my father. There were two bayonet holes in Ali Riza’s shirt. One had pierced his stomach at the front and had pricked a hole in the material on the other side where it exited, the other wound was where they’d stabbed him in the liver.

My uncle and father hid the deaths of Baki and Ali Riza from my mother and for a long time she believed that Baki had taken Ali Riza to Kemah and that they’d both found work and had been spared.

After my father died his place at the head of the armed band was taken by a man called Doğan. One day Doğan told my mother the truth about the line of captives. However, even if my mother believed it at first, she soon took to denying it had happened. She kept fantasising that her children would be coming to join her. As these hopes of hers grew with each passing day, Doğan, who by now was my mother’s third husband, took her to the village where it had happened. The villagers there told the story once more to my mother.

The place where Baki had been killed was a flat wheat field. My mother told me that the crop there had grown as high as a man and that it swayed in the cool and gentle breeze like the blonde hair of a girl. The dead were buried under this field where a dozer had dug a mass grave. As for Ali Riza, the villagers had buried him on a hill right next to the village cemetery. My mother was more upset that Ali Riza was lying on that hill all alone, than she was about his death.


Excerpt from Night Butterfly by Haydar Karataş

İletişim Yayınlar, İstanbul

Draft translation by Caroline Stockford 2015


8. baskı – Eylül 2014
255 sayfa

Poem for evening by Behçet Necatigil

Image result for evening

Poem for evening

Suddenly you remember
And he you – suddenly sometimes
Where is he? What’s he doing now?
A longing sparkles between the memories.

This ‘evening’ – what a strange word
It’s like hearing it for the first time, it makes me uneasy
Evening: Will I find him if I look upon the roads?
I don’t know

The fire will extinguish soon
and longing cool
We’ll meet again one day
One day, one half evening.

by Behçet Necatigil

Translated by Caroline Stockford

at the 2015 Cunda Workshop for Translators of Turkish Literature


Akşam Şiiri

Birden hatırlarsın,
O da seni – – birden bazan:
Nerde, ne yapar şimdi
Parlar bir özlem anılar arasından.

Bu akşam ne garip sözcük
Sanki ilk duydum, yadırgıyorum:
Akşam. Bilmem bulur muyum
Yollara baksam?

Söner yangın birazdan
Yatışır özlem.
Bir gün karşılaşırız
Bir gün, bir yarım akşam.

‘Nefes’ of the Quiet Between Us by Haydar Ergülen

‘Nefes’ of the Quiet Between Us by Haydar Ergülen


before you even existed I was mad with you
the lack of you upset me, and then you were here
you were so beautiful I could not want you for myself
now I’m subdued by your absence as if you were here

this sensitivity, oh, you can’t imagine
things that should upset me seem to make no mark at all
what am I to do, your presence is more barren than your absence
have you left me no-one else to go quiet on?
I alone am left in the desert of your silence

I know you won’t show this stillness to just anyone at all
and your eyes are like Autumn, that stealer of leaves
as memories fall, eyes shall fill
those eyes must be cleaned before Summer is here
or the silence between us will be sullied by tears

you must love someone enough to go quiet on them
don’t talk when they arrive:
where were you all this time?
why didn’t you love me?
without you I had no-one not to talk to!
is what you should say
and when they’re with you, go quiet on no-one but them


poet: Haydar Ergülen
Translation Collaboration of Caroline Stockford and Selhan Endres
at the 2013 Cunda international Workshop for Translators of Turkish Literature

This poem first appeared in Turkish Poetry Today, 2015, edited by George Messo

available at :

A gossamer-winged breeze by Gökçenur Ç.

A gossamer-winged breeze


You dropped my hand
and a gossamer-winged breeze
in the space
created between our palms

and there, striking out
with a green handkerchief
between its teeth
began night’s


Poet: Gökçenur Ç
Translated by Caroline Stockford

at the 2014 Cunda International Workshop for Translators of Turkish Literature

This poem first appeared in Turkish Poetry Today, 2015, edited by George Messo

available at :


International Translation Day

International Translation Day (<click here)

Panel at ITD 2012

Coming up next week.. brilliant schedule of talks, meetings and some comedy.  Last year’s was a fascinating event.. and a great chance to catch up with other translators, especially members of the Emerging Translators Network (ETN)