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Gülten Akın



I went to my native city to clean off some rust,

To visit some stones on site, excavations etc.

As a sign of respect I wore my hair long again

And put on country clogs

So I wouldn’t be lost in the earth and dust.


They stood on the edge of the town to meet me,

Surrounding and cutting me off.

I never thought I could be a guest to my childhood.

I never imagined because of my women in-laws

That meeting would be the first step

To sending me back.


I never imagined children sent out to play

In the streets and parks,

Or inns and hotels on my beloved ruins,

Windows of cakes instead of saffron pilav,

I never dreamt of icecream made from ice instead of snow,

And not one member of the Çapanoğlu family left in Yozgat.


Grandfather’s dead, grandmother and my mother,

I couldn’t visit our old home.

Grandfather who for years endured

Ravaged by grief and tobacco,

Grandmother by poverty and grandfather’s ruin,

Mother who for years endured

An incurable wasting away.


From now on I’m not Gülten from Yozgat,

Wherever I die I belong.

Let me die in the eastern regions

By the cold waters of the trackless mountains.

(Translated by Ruth Christie, 101Poems by 101Poets An Anthology of Turkish Poetry)