A modern Turkish poetess



By Gilani Kamran Professor Emeritus University G.C Lahore


Recently Saadat Saeed has published a bilingual translation of a modern Turkish poetess, a young non-professional writer, Serpil Kalifli Cerida, who lives in Istanbul and is associated with a teaching institute. Saadat Saeed has translated Cenda's poems from Turkish into Urdu and has, in a more intimate manner, brought the two brother countries closer to each other. As a matter of fact, Turkey and Paki-stan have always been members of one family and have shared each other' s joys and sorrows as members of the same household.

Saadat Saeed has attempted to look into the heart of a modern Turkish young woman, and has discovered the same kind of love which fills the hearts of our mothers and sisters. Thus, while translating these poems, Saadat Saeed has interpreted a valuable aspect of the Turkish soul, its response to beautiful objects of nature in the idiom of human feelings.

Lately a few other Turkish poets have been introduced in our literary culture. Younas Emare a Sufi poet had been translated into Urdu a few years ago, and it was found that the strain of Sufism is a strong link between Turkey and Pakistan, The modern Turkish sensibility can be under-stood through the Sufic way, though the Western world has taken a different view of the religious consciousness of modern Turkey, It is, how-ever, interesting to mention that Zia Gokolp had specifically pointed out, in the early years of the rise of Turkish nationalism, that Sufism shall remain a dominating feature of Turkish future to feed and strengthen the modernisation of the Turkish nation-state. Along with this, Iqbal had particularly mentioned the Turkish poet Tavvfiq Fikrat in his lecture on Islamic Culture. Another Turkish poet, Nazim Hikmat, had been attracting the writers in Pakistan for his poetic message and humanism. In this sequence, Saadat Saeed has added the name of Serpil Cenda to bring poetic sensibility of Turkey closer to the awareness of contemporary writers in Pakistan.

Saadat's work is a part of his enterprise to form a Pakistan-Turkey Literary Forum to encourage a creative dialogue between the writers of the two countries. Turkey and the Turkish people have a glorious heritage and it will be a matter of pride for the writers in Pakistan to draw inspiration from the Turkish fountainhead. As a language, Urdu has a very large number of Turkish words in its vocabulary. In hours of need, the Muslims of the subcontinent had gone to the Turks during their own struggle for independence. Enver Pasha, Ismat Pasha and Kamal Pasha (Ata Turk) because of the family names in this country in the early years of this century. The fibril identity between Turkey and Pakistan has grown into a proud historical consciousness by our time. In this setting, the formation of a Forum for creative dialogue between Turkey and Pakistan must be a very welcome idea for the writers of the two countries.

Serpil Cenda's collection of poems, titled Cenda Zamani in Turkish, can be rendered into Urdu as zinda zamanay: living moments. The Turkish word zamani has been translated by Saadat Saeed as 'time' and Cenda as rnoon and the title has been described as Chaand wakt. This rendering has characterised the spirit of the poet and has given the suggestion that the soul of Serpil Cenda's poetry has revealed itself in metaphors.

Moon is a dominant image of Serpil Cenda's poetry which is quite natural for a young woman poet. But this moon image acquires a different poetic dimension when it appears in her verses, In her poem 'Three moons from heaven', Serpil Cenda writes:

"I have seen three moons:

One that! touched,

The other I kissed,

and the moon that I placed

in my eyes,

Is it joy? Or it is

what men call Love?"

In another poem: Azadi - Deliverance, she says:

*1 have a good news -

my mind is rapt in silence,

that common soul which I preserved

has melted away......

I place my heart in one pan of

the balance, and whatever is yours in the other..,....,,

The balance tilts always in your favour."

Serpil Cenda's poetic self seems to move delicately in a dream-like world. There is freshness and a sweet voice which speaks through her poems in intimate whispers. How different Serpil Cenda’s life of feeling is can be seen when her poems are compared with Farogh Farakhzad' s or Sylvia Plath's poetry. In her poems, the modern Turkish woman exposes her inner self in Its most affectionate forms.

In the poem "A letter beside the water-spring", she says:

"Blue is the sea,

blue is the sky,

and the sun, blue, too

is fire pale and orange.

In the balcony of my room

a flower grows in the dust

of my heart-a pink flower

and many more flowers, but your absence

poisons all joyful things"

In another poem, * Jealousy, Serpil Cenda's feelings take an unfamiliar form:

"In my childhood

I never loved toys for myself

1 gave away my sweets

on Eid-day to others,

but! cannot part with

my love for you"

This collection of poems has been illustrated by Shafiq Faruki who has translated the inner life of the poems in line-drawings which makes this* collection artistically pleasing. Two different worlds co-exist in this collection the visual line- drawing world of the poet's inner life and the metaphoric world of the poems' images. These features give a market quality " to the book: pleasant as the poems stand, and even more pleasant for their illustrations.

Saadat Saeed has carried out a remarkable job, and it is felt that the readers will also have a rewarding experience while going through it.



Cultural Metaphor


The Nation Lahore


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