BÜYUKAKSOY, VECIHE

BULGURLU ZADE RIFAT BEY

When you stop to take a look at that lovely valley Across from the top of Hacikadin Hill You see the two-winged house of’ Rifat Bey With its rust-colored shutters And its red-tiled roofs. Rifat Bey sits under the big oak Humming a song to himself. It is shady and cool under the tree; The sunlight filtering through its foliage Falls on the ground sparsely. Big Rifat Bey leans against the century-old oak, Across from him his wife sits cross-legged On a silk pillow over an embroidered rug, Hand-rolling cigarettes for herself with fine tobacco. Big Rifat Bey the son of Kerim Efendi, Seems as sturdy as the big oak tree. He chats with his wife -- he sings a melancholy song. The houses of the Kurds are up there, Their camels roaming everywhere. She sits down to milk the cow, With the sweaty udders. Her honey-colored eyes are dreamy.

Rifat Bey’s father Kerim Efendi, too, Used to sing and play the lute. Rifat Bey wonders, “What was he singing?” Quietly he hums to himself: I know you’re in love with the rose, But who knows what the rose thinks? Muzeyyen Hanlm remembers, Our father Kerim Efendi used to sing: Tailor may your hands be broken,

You made my vest too tight for me!. Then both pray for the departed ones,. Rifat Bey is up, holding his cane, His wife walks ahead of him; They stroll in the vineyard, in the orchard, And by the brook; Collecting stones, grafting the vines, or pruning the trees. On one side of the brook are the poplars,. When the wind blows they rustle. Under the poplars Rifat Bey’s wife sings, Her mother Saliha Hanim’s song. One poplar is taller than the other Under the poplars grow the grapevines Oh my beloved, the apple of my eye. On the other side of the brook Stand the walnut trees With their branches reaching the sky, And stretching over the brook. The wife calls Rifat Bey, “Don’t sit by the brook too long, Come over here Kemal’s papa.” The other side of the brook Belongs to the Abazas. Abaza Ali Efendi and his wife Hatçe Hanim, Are walking over To visit their neighbors, Carrying a tray of mulberries. Bounteous fruit to be shared by all. The garden-hands are sent near the well, To spread over the kilims, And place the print-covered cushions. They all sit by the well to have a chat, Coffees with cardamom bubble over the branch fires. Rifat Bey’s children come over To greet. the guests -The boys carrying shovels and pick-axes, The girls carrying platters and trays -Rifat Bey’s wife asks: Where are your children? Why didn’t they come? Sonny, run over there and tell them to join us! It is an open secret that Lutfiye Is in love with Muhiddin.

Celal is the pal of Celal, Fitnat is Vecihe’s friend. Nezihe doesn’t join them, She’s either reading or writing. Kemal and Raziye -- the history teacher -Ride horses. Mesrure had married Mehmet Bey years ago, And the beautiful Samiye, Went to Konya that year to marry a doctor. Rifat Bey talks about the orchard, The vineyard and the vegetable garden, With Çerkez Ali Efendi. All Efendi knows how to graft the vines, And how to lay them to rest in winter. Hatçe Hanim knows How to roll the finest, layers of dough, How to make molasses from the grapes And how to spin the wool from the goats’ hair. But that day their chat was interrupted, Rifat Bey had to dash to town. Yahya Efendi, the messenger of the parliament was sent To tell Rifat Bey -- a deputy in the National Assembly -That M. Kemal Pasha would like him to come over. So this life went on happily for many years, Both in Hacikadin and in Can Sokak in Ankara Until Müzeyyen Hanim passed away in Istanbul, At the young age of forty-nine. Rifat Bey was deeply grieved, He lived in Ankara alone for a dozen years. He sold that beautiful country house, He couldn’t live there anymore Without his lovely wife. He sat by the window, In the house in Can Sokak, No. 13, Thinking of Müzeyyen Hanim. He would sing again with his melancholy voice:

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Why did I see you? Why did I fall in love with you? My heart is broken Because of your sad eyes.

Then he moved to Istanbul. Three years later he,

And soon after his youngest son Celal Joined Müzeyyen Hanim in death. Now all three, Are sleeping peacefully, In the Merkez Efendi Cemetery.

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