Nâzim Hikmet

Programming / to stage

I love poetry & I’m not the only one, then I can pretend to have it staged.

So today I want to share with you one of my favorite poets, Nâzim Hikmet. Read Hikmet, and…: Rendez-vous in Istanbul.

And I am French: I have Baudelaire, Verlaine, Apollinaire, Rimbaud, Corbière and so many others – yet Hikmet’s words also went straight to my heart.

All the incredible poetry of Istanbul is hidden in his poems, verse after verse: the freedom given by the wind and the smell of the sea; the incessant buzzing of the crowd, day and night; the call – my god – to your greed when you walk along the docks and smell the freshly caught fish grilling; the little pinch in your heart when you pass through the Sublime Gate and the detours of the Topkapi Palace and its rose gardens open to your eyes; the overwhelming majesty of the Blue Mosque paired in the distance with the overwhelming majesty of the redheaded Saint Sophia when evening comes… The unbelievable hospitality of the Turks, who will cover you with better food, tea – I don’t like tea, but Turkish tea, I drank liters of it with incredible pleasure – coffee in whose marc you will read your future. By the way, my future was written too and the lady who made those predictions was so adorable that I believe her. It was a curious future. It is this spirit, romantic and warlike, smiling and serious, that we find in Nâzim Hikmet.

I’m not going to give you his biography – the internet will do it for me if you feel like it.
I’m not going to tell you: read all for tomorrow.
I’ll just give you some translations to read… an author is only as good as the words he writes…

Letters and poems – V

If through Mr. Nouri the commission agent

My city, my Istanbul sent me

A cypress crate, a wedding crate

If I opened it by ringing the bell

the small bell of the lock: tschinnnnnnn

Two rolls of Chilé cloth

Two pairs of shirts

White handkerchiefs embroidered with silver wire

Soaps from Andrinople

Lavender flowers in small tulle bags

and you and if you got out of there.

I’d make you sit on the edge of my bed

I would put my wolf skin under your feet

And I’ll stand before you with my hands together and my head down.

I would look at you, O joy, I would look at you in wonder.

How beautiful you are, my God, oh how beautiful you are

Istanbul’s air and water to your smile

The voluptuousness of my city in your eyes

O my Sultana, O my Mistress, if you would allow it.

and if your slave Nazim Hikmet dared to do so

It would be as if he were breathing and kissing Istanbul on your cheek.

But beware

don’t you dare say “approach” to me

It seems to me that if your hand touched my hand

I will fall dead on the concrete

and this one in addition, perhaps a little better known:

You are all naked in my arms
    the city, the night and you
your clarity illuminates my face
  and then the scent of your hair.
Whose heart is beating
above the murmur of our throbbing breaths
  is it your voice, the city’s voice, the night’s voice or mine?
Where the night ends, where the city begins
Where does the city end, where do you start?
  where is my end, where is my beginning?

I cannot tell you why I find these words of love to be among the most beautiful – aren’t they worth sharing ?

If I had to imagine the staging – but I won’t do that if I have anything to do with it, it’s to find artists and offer them what I’d like to see – then I’ll ask for a voice first. A male cast to the sound of the voice, we need a voice that is soft and firm at the same time, a voice that slides into your heart to put Hikmet’s words into it.
a small room under the roofs of Istanbul.
a walk through the city – without realism, that’s not the subject – a visual that gives us a bit of the grandeur of this city.

And there I have it, my beautiful show created from the words of Nâzim Hikmet.
& I have no worries about “sales” – a guy who “says” love like that, obviously we come to hear him.

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Featured Image : of course, Istanbul.

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