Bread, salt and love: Happy Valentine’s Day from the Karagöz puppets (and Nazim Hikmet)


Ever the agent-provocateur, Karagöz kicks a “skunkentine” out of the way (Image by Liz Cameron)

Happy Valentine’s Day to all – the Karagöz puppets’ gift to you today is the sharing of a Nazim Hikmet poem which likens love to dipping bread into salt…relayed here in English and then in Turkish…


A close-up of Karagöz’s valentine, dubbed “the skunkentine” (Image by Liz Cameron)

I love you
like dipping bread into salt and eating
Like waking up at night with high fever
and drinking water, with the tap in my mouth
Like unwrapping the heavy box from the postman
with no clue what it is
fluttering, happy, doubtful
I love you
like flying over the sea in a plane for the first time
Like something moves inside me
when it gets dark softly in Istanbul
I love you
Like thanking God that we live.


Ooops! He’s got a real valentine under his hat, that Karagöz never stops surprising us! (Image by Liz Cameron)

Seviyorum seni
ekmeği tuza banıp yer gibi
Geceleyin ateşler içinde uyanarak
ağzımı dayayıp musluğa su içer gibi
Ağır posta paketini
neyin nesi belirsiz
telaşlı, sevinçli, kuşkulu açar gibi
Seviyorum seni
denizi ilk defa uçakla geçer gibi
İstanbul’da yumuşacık kararırken ortalık
içimde kımıldayan birşeyler gibi
Seviyorum seni
Yaşıyoruz çok şükür der gibi.


Khadijah and Celebi celebrate their love with a floating silver valentine (Image by Liz Cameron)





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

2 Responses to Bread, salt and love: Happy Valentine’s Day from the Karagöz puppets (and Nazim Hikmet)

  1. Alan says:

    . . the thought of those puppets, with their camel-hide, thick skin, having and being Valentines has this old cynic all teared up . . . but then, I am getting over a cold!

  2. What a beautiful poem and I love the image of Karagoz kicking a “skunkentine”. It is really those simple things like bread, salt (and olive oil) and flying high over the sea and looking down at little white flecks on the water below that make life so special.

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