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Sezai Karakoç

(1933- ….)

A Tale Of The Father And His Seven Sons

Once upon a time, there was a father

who lived in the east

his sons had seen the West

before west became the West


The first son knocked on the door of the West

he was greeted with much acclaim

feasts were gven in his honour

and speeches we heard also

praising and honouring hiz father

the nights are rolling in soft beds

the son is in bed inventing beautiful visions

suddenly a wretched shadow slid into the room

like a thin garment

they murdered and buried him in an unknown place

the father knew of this from the eyes of clouds

he understood and to avenge

sent his second son to the West


The second son in the lando u the West

wandering along river banks

met a girl fresh as mountain air

as if she was made of pollen

or echoes from the moon

or hearts of mirrors

or milky ways

it was as though she was not born mortal

but the heavens had given her birth

the sun braided her hair

her an after her for years in vain

the West came in between them like an abyss

then one winter-day cold winds took him away

they found him on the peak of besieged chasms

they found him in the palms of rim ravines

from the rains the father divined this,

the rains were acrid, bitter

he sent his third son to the West

to unravel the heart of the matter


The third son in the West

for a long time struggled, starved and shattered

but one day he got a job in a shop

when he quenched his hunger

he was going to call his brothers

he was going to call his brothers

but the magic of the West overpowered him

he was so busy he did not have time to send for his brothers

and eventually forgot all about them

he was in charge of many, many subordinates

he learned how to tie his tie at nights

one day he came to own o shop peaple loked up to him

he became the boss but he was stil a lackey at heart

because his soul was the soul of a boot-licker

one day one of his compatriots recognised him in a night club

he embarrassed him with probing quesitons

he felt guilty, sent a cheque to his father

tahe father did not know what to do with this paper

he tore it up threw the pieces of this hefty cheque

to puppies to play with

the man was old, but he was not to be deflected

from his vow

and to this end of forth son was sent to the West


The fourth son received a high education

Mastered science and wisdom

Denounced his traditions, his past and his tribe

İnterpreted all the cores of cocepts as out of date

He had found the real civilisation now

Western scientists congratulated him

He was forgotten like thousands before him

The father learned this from the magical language of nature

İllustrious sheep of the house ran black for days


The fifth son was o poet

before his father asked him to go

he went to learn the esence of the West

prepared poems tragic and meaningful

about the fate of the East and dissolutions of the West

hem ad ready to go back

reciting his poems in deserts

he was dissolved as grains of sand on the roads


It was the turn of the sixth son

as soon as he showed hiz face in the West

they had him addicted to sweet poisend water

he drank wines

he tired to count the stones on the pavements

he made no distinction between home and pavement

he mixed his days and his nights

one day he disappeared into the darkness


The father died of a broken heart

the seventh son had grown watching trees

absorbed the secrets of seasons

fading leaves mirrorred the writing of his fate

he wanted to try his luck as well

one dawn he reached the West

in one of the largest squares

he said his prayers first

please dear God, give me stregth

do not let them change me

all of a sudden he was inspired

and started to dig the place where he was standing

westerns gathered round to watch him

he did not take any notice of them

he dug relentlessly

the hole now waist deep

the crowed became larger and larger

then ne turned round and spoke


I am the seventh son of a father

who lost six sons

I want to be buried here

before I can be corrupted

my father died of sorrows from my brothers

I do not want tu upset his soul

bury me as I am

I want to die as a man from the East

Your one and only power is in changing people

Even if you kill me I will not come out from here

Perhaps my bones will çhange into dust and earth

But my soul will not be altered

They could not talk him out of decision

They waited days and nights hoping

That he would give in to his hunger

Day by day he melted but did not come out

His pain parted sky and earth


He became a pillar of light

rising up to the sky

the West was unable to quench the pillar

and to this day

pilgrims come seeking cures from it

people come seeking cures for their bodies and souls

people who carry traces of humanity in tehir hearts.

(Translated by Mevlut Ceylan, 101Poems by 101Poets An Anthology of Turkish Poetry)