The Walnut Tree

My head is a foaming cloud, inside and outside I’m the sea.
I am a walnut tree in Gezi Park in Istanbul,
an old walnut tree with knots and scars.
You don’t know this and the police don’t either.

I am a walnut tree in in Gezi Park.
My leaves sparkle like fish in water,
my leaves flutter like silk handkerchiefs.
Break one off my darling, and wipe your tears.
My leaves are my hands – I have a hundred thousand hands.
Istanbul I touch you with a hundred thousand hands.
My leaves are my eyes, and I am shocked at what I see.
I look at you, Istanbul, with a hundred thousand eyes
and my leaves beat, beat with a hundred thousand hearts.

I am a walnut tree in Gezi Park.
You don’t know this and the police don’t either.

 

Nazim Hikmet

(Translated by Ruth Christie, Richard McKane & Talat Sait Halman, Anvil Press)

Editor’s note: ‘Gulhane Park, Istanbul’ has been altered to ‘Gezi Park’ for obvious reasons.

 

 


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