Today I turn to the prominent, prolific, and deeply profound Turkish poet Fazıl Hüsnü Dağlarca (1914-2008) as I try to come to terms with this past year, with this perpetually broken and beautiful world.
We severed continents and divided countries:
Seeing the state we’re in, poplars were aghast.
Although the earth unfurled its golden feast
Where our hands were joined by bread and salt:
Brother, we failed to understand.
Nights made us all the same until dawn
As they drifted over our beds.
There we were, more foolish than frogs.
While leaves on the pond told the unity of time,
You lived apart and I lived apart.
What evil magic strangles our fate:
For ages our thoughts remain fast asleep?
What mystery is this, white and not white?
We love one another’s trinkets and beads,
And not one another’s land.
translated by Talât Sait Halman in Defense Against the Night