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Talat Halman, The Letter

Talat Halman, The Letter

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“The Letter” by Talat Halman, Turkish poet, translated by Nilüfer Mizanoğlu Reddy
“The Letter” by Talat Halman, Turkish poet, translated by Nilüfer Mizanoğlu Reddy

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Published by: Mrs Nilufer Mizanoglu Reddy on Jun 20, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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In her last letter my mother was saying,I went to the old house in Kadik 
y yesterday.The lock of the garden gate was rusty-- must have been from all the rains --One can't question God's blessings.A new neighbor leaned out of the window across the way:"They've been away for years," she said.The key became colder in my hand,Are the shutters cross with us,The first time in forty-five years?The green gage plum tree is all dried up
But the jujube tree is still there.Remember when we sacrificed a sheep under it;As the blood gushed from the struggling creature,You cried "There can't be a Celebration for the sacrificed!"Those who told us it was sinful to look at the sunhad to renew their ablutions for prayers.-- Now I understand you very well --Yet when your father's Mevlud prayers were recited downstairsYou too joined in "Allah h
mme salli alâ"Like the cooing of the pigeons far fromthe ablution fountain,their withered hearts were calmed.You may not believe me:You know how much I loathed the spiders,But when I entered the house todayI liked them --On the walls with cracks bleeding inwards.After so many weddings, so many coffinsThere is still some life left even if it is unsightly.Smiles cannot last foreverLike the roses that bloom in all seasons --I am grateful even for this much.
When Father died your eyes rested on the horizon,Trying to distract you we said:"He went on a long journey again."-- Like burying a sleeping bird --But maybe you knew thatThe longest grave belongs to sleepless birds.Not a single sound was allowed in the house,no whistling or singingTime had to be still for forty daysand then the sweetmeats.. ..The neighborhood's poor knew that and waited forThe taste of death.I thought the mirrors were longing to hear a whistle…-- Would you expect it from a seventyish woman? --I whistled to my heart's content,With all the coupling might of my lips;Against desolation, against decaying time,But before everything else it was a song of triumphFor my house --A last call for love...And a prayer for forgiveness.The climbing vine the most hopeless and undying love.-- We should never have left our house. --What is the furniture inside good for?In the moldy darknessSome expired willingly;And the others are in their death throes.Only the climbing vine caresses the big house,In summer and in winter.Yet when it first shot up they called it "a weed","Pull it up, it will ruin the building," they said.I think when we were away a workman came in,And added many more steps to the staircase.I went up to the attic again.The roof was always leaking-- After all it was an old wooden house --We couldn't keep up with the roof repairs.Now the tiles are all loose.Suddenly I see the sky!We, the women of those days long past

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