Turkey’s Melih Cevdet Anday

translated by Sidney Wade and Efe Murad

My house has one room
Inside it a lunatic turns and turns

Now here now on the other side of the moon
Both here and behind the moon

I knocked on the door of a lighthouse
A nutcase opened it


translated by Sidney Wade and Efe Murad

I woke to find myself filled with sound
My face my eyes my mouth my nose my hands
It was the sound of a sea-door opening
The sound of the sun-hen shaking dust from her feathers
The sound of a tooth-colored hawser creaking
Of a trumpet in the shape of a tree
Of tomorrow’s wheat, of a moving bone
It was the sound of an historical wrist, of resistance
Of capering cars, of embracing horses.
I watched it, as blue as a carnation cooling in the sun
As beautiful as the pencil behind a construction worker’s ear
As intense as a wet barrel in the rain
As ecstatic as a clothesline brushed by the wing of a sparrow
Like pigeons strolling through a schoolyard
Like a lip kissed on the coast, a lip kissed in the rain
Like faceless minutes nuzzling up to shadows
Like celestial toys.



Melih Cevdet Anday‘s long career stretched from the nineteen-forties into the twenty-first century.  In 1941, he and his friends Oktay Rifat and Orhan Veli published Garip (“Strange”), a little book of poems that severed the new Turkish poetic tradition decisively from its Ottoman past and set the terms for modern Turkish verse. Sidney Wade and Efe Murad’s have just recently completed translating “Strange.”

Sidney Wade has published five collections of poetry, the most recent of which is Stroke, from Persea Books. She has served as President of AWP and Secretary/Treasurer of ALTA and has taught workshops in Poetry and Translation at the University of Florida’s MFA@FLA program since 1993.  She and her co-translator, Efe Murad, have just completed a selection of the poems of the Turkish poet Melih Cevdet Anday.

Efe Murad is a poet and translator, currently working towards his Ph.D. in Middle East Studies at Harvard.

Read Sidney Wade’s translations of a most different Turkish modernist, Yahya Kemal, here.

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