Celebi shares Orhan Veli Kanik’s “I am listening to Istanbul”


Celebi the modernist, and some would say dandy, is much more than his chartreuse green silk shantung suit makes him out to be – and today it is evidenced by his memorized lament for the city he misses so…

Not to be outdone by Tiryaki the narcoleptic opium addict, Celebi was the first to wake me this morning with his favorite poem as of late.  Celebi, that modern lover, has turned to Orhan Veli Kanik‘s words to express the love for the city he misses – but love/hates at the same time.  Saf and Dobra stir at this prospect.  You may recall that they love-hate modern day Turkey with all of the inherent conflicts and confusions therein – and are always wrestling about this topic.  But for now, let us enjoy this ode to Celebi’s most missed metropolis…

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed:
At first there is a gentle breeze
And the leaves on the trees
Softly sway;
Out there, far away,
The bells of water-carriers unceasingly ring;
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed;
Then suddenly birds fly by,
Flocks of birds, high up, with a hue and cry,
While the nets are drawn in the fishing grounds
And a woman’s feet begin to dabble in the water.
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.
The Grand Bazaar’s serene and cool,
An uproar at the hub of the Market,
Mosque yards are full of pigeons.
While hammers bang and clang at the docks
Spirng winds bear the smell of sweat;
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

Başkurt Sokak 71, Cihangir, Istanbul

Başkurt Sokak 71, Cihangir, Istanbul (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed;
Still giddy from the revelries of the past,
A seaside mansion with dingy boathouses is fast asleep.
Amid the din and drone of southern winds, reposed,
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.
A pretty girl walks by on the sidewalk:
Four-letter words, whistles and songs, rude remarks;
Something falls out of her hand –
It is a rose, I guess.
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.
A bird flutters round your skirt;
On your brow, is there sweet? Or not ? I know.
Are your lips wet? Or not? I know.
A silver moon rises beyond the pine trees:
I can sense it all in your heart’s throbbing.
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

istanbul sunset

Istanbul sunset (Photo credit: heydrienne)

İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı
Önce hafiften bir rüzgar esiyor;
Yavaş yavaş sallanıyor
Yapraklar, ağaçlarda;
Uzaklarda, çok uzaklarda,
Sucuların hiç durmayan çıngırakları
İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı.

İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı;
Kuşlar geçiyor, derken;
Yükseklerden, sürü sürü, çığlık çığlık.
Ağlar çekiliyor dalyanlarda;
Bir kadının suya değiyor ayakları;
İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı.

İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı;
Serin serin Kapalıçarşı
Cıvıl cıvıl Mahmutpaşa
Güvercin dolu avlular
Çekiç sesleri geliyor doklardan
Güzelim bahar rüzgarında ter kokuları;
İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı.

İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı;
Başımda eski alemlerin sarhoşluğu
Loş kayıkhanelerıyle bir yalı;
Dinmiş lodosların uğultusu içinde
İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı.

İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı;
Bir yosma geciyor kaldırımdan;
Küfürler, şarkılar, türküler, laf atmalar.
Bir şey düşüyor elinden yere;
Bir gül olmalı;
İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı.

İstanbul’u dinliyorum, gözlerim kapalı;
Bir kuş çırpınıyor eteklerinde;
Alnın sıcak mı, değil mi, biliyorum;
Dudakların ıslak mı, değil mi, biliyorum;
Beyaz bir ay doğuyor fıstıkların arkasından
Kalbinin vuruşundan anlıyorum;
İstanbul’u dinliyorum.

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This entry was posted in Introducing the Karagöz puppets, Turkish Art, Visits from the Karagöz puppets and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Celebi shares Orhan Veli Kanik’s “I am listening to Istanbul”

  1. Alan says:

    really nice stuff! Mind pictures . .

  2. E. says:

    Mind pictures indeed. The puppets are very engrossed in poetry these days, so you will see more that will hopefully create some mind pictures anew!

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