I Come and Stand at Every Door

July 12, 2006 at 10:58 pm 5 comments

Nazim Hikmet

Listen

I come and stand at every door
But no one hears my silent tread
I knock and yet remain unseen
For I am dead, for I am dead.

I’m only seven although I died
In Hiroshima long ago
I’m seven now as I was then
When children die they do not grow.

My hair was scorched by swirling flame
My eyes grew dim, my eyes grew blind
Death came and turned my bones to dust
And that was scattered by the wind.

I need no fruit, I need no rice
I need no sweet, nor even bread
I ask for nothing for myself
For I am dead, for I am dead.

All that I ask is that for peace
You fight today, you fight today
So that the children of this world
May live and grow and laugh and play.

– Tr. by Jeanette Turner

For all the innocent people who have died (and continue to die) in acts of mindless heartless violence.

We owe it to them, to leave this world a better place, for those who follow. And this poem makes it as clear as anything ever could – How could we let this happen (again)?

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, ‘n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, ‘n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind. …[1]

– Bob Dylan

In every country and in every era, we come across avant-garde artists who struggle against the dark forces of their periods. These avant-garde artists, who struggle for the happiness of the people and for a beautiful life in the world, have always been besieged, investigated, oppressed and murdered by those dark forces. But they know that no oppression and threat, no death or lie is capable of stopping the course of history and its direction toward the better, the more beautiful, the more just and toward happiness. And the works of these authors and their entire lives become models for the next generations.

– Nazım Hikmet (Babayef, p. 140)

Notes:

[1] I Come and stand at every door and Blowin’ in the Wind* at the minstrels.

[2] An excellent post* on Hikmet at Middlestage. More here.

[3] You might have heard The Byrds or Bob Seger perform, “I Come and Stand at Every Door”.

* (thanks Falstaff!)

[blackmamba]

Entry filed under: Black Mamba, Jeanette Turner, Nazim Hikmet, Turkish. Tags: .

Least Action The Diameter of the Bomb

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Falstaff  |  July 13, 2006 at 12:56 am

    Errr..small correction – blowin’ in the wind is Dylan, not Baez. See Minstrels:

    http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/1708.html

    Oh, and more on Hikmet here:

    http://middlestage.blogspot.com/2005/12/nazim-hikmet-in-prison.html

    Reply
  • 2. blackmamba  |  July 13, 2006 at 1:17 am

    Dylan, not Baez… it is fixed. I really did not know. Always thought this was Dylan singing Baez’s lyrics.

    Thank you for the links.

    Reply
  • 3. gonul ucele  |  September 28, 2006 at 1:04 pm

    I was so ımpressed by the music of Pete seeger to this poignant poem .To those who are not yet familiar with the song please, listen to it.It has been on my top ten since 1969,when I came upon it by coincidence when purchasing a long-play of Pete Segeer who is,as great a bard as Nazım.

    Reply
  • 4. PJ  |  November 19, 2006 at 1:56 am

    The Byrds are and have alwyas been my favourite american band. I never tire of their songs. “I come and stand..” and “Bells of Rymney” are just 2 of the best of poetry put to electric music. We used to refer their music as Rennaisance Rock…aptly so

    Reply
  • 5. Hiroshima – 06 08 1945 | Against The Grain  |  February 13, 2014 at 10:52 am

    […] a Nazim Hikmet poem that previously have been recorded by the likes of Pete Seeger & the Band , here in a haunting […]

    Reply

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