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450Turkish Cupid

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  • trh trh
    Apr 11, 2001
      x0x Turkish Cupid

      By Talat Halman *

      Gods of light, grant me this bliss:
      Let my black-eyed darling
      And I join our lives together.
      Gods of light, grant me the power
      So that my love and I
      Can live and laugh together.

      Living, loving, laughing... Cupid has been alive and well in Turkish
      poetry for fifteen centuries. The above poem is from the 6th century --by
      the Uighur-Turkish prince Aprin Chor Tigin-- the first Turkish poet whose
      name has come down to us. Other stanzas from this earliest love poem
      express the poet's yearning for his woman:

      My darling, best of all,
      Whom I love heart and soul.

      I desperately long for my woman:
      She, with those lovely eyebrows, is the best one.
      I yearn for re-union.
      Steeped in deepest thoughts,
      All the time, I miss her,
      I burn with the desire to kiss her.

      I might say I'd better go, my sweetheart,
      Yet I just cannot depart,
      Have pity in your heart.
      My young darling, no matter what tales I tell,
      I cannot leave -- well,
      I revel in your sweet smell.

      Aprin Chor Tigin lived and loved in Central Asia. Seven centuries later,
      when Turks were ensconced in sovereignty in Asia Minor (Anatolia), a bold
      and eloquent voice was heard -- Yunus Emre, a minstrel of the countryside,
      who created a wondrous corpus of humanitarian mystic poetry. With
      exuberant pride, he declared:

      Go and let it be known to all lovers:
      I am the man who gave his heart to love.
      I turn into a wild duck of passion,
      I am the one who takes the swiftest dive.

      From the waves of the sea I take water
      And offer it all the way to the skies.
      In adoration, like a cloud, I soar -
      I am the one who flies to heavens above.

      But love can also spell suffering for the mystic, as Yunus Emre expresses
      it in a poignant poem:

      Your love has taken me away from me,
      You're the one I need, you're the one I crave.
      Day and night I burn, gripped by agony,
      You're the one I need, you're the one I crave.

      I find no great joy in being alive,
      If I cease to exist, I would not grieve,
      The only solace I have is your love,
      You're the one I need, you're the one I crave.

      Let me drink the wine of love sip by sip,
      Like Mecnun, live in the hills in hardship,
      Day and night, care for you holds me in its grip,
      You're the one I need, you're the one I crave.

      In the heartland of Anatolia, Yunus Emre celebrated love and its triumphs
      in the 13th century:

      - When love arrives, all needs and flaws are gone.
      - I love you beyond the depths of my soul.
      - I love you, so the hand of death can never touch me.

      Poetry reigned supreme in the Ottoman centuries. Two -thirds of the
      Sultans --24 out of 36-- wrote polished verses, amatory, nostalgic,
      divine, passionate, humorous, exuberant, ecstatic.

      Süleyman the Magnificent was a dedicated and prolific poet who turned out
      nearly 3 thousand verses. His pen-name was "Muhibbi", which roughly
      translates as "lover". One of Süleyman the Lover's best is a poem of

      Now that you have a free hand,
      Kiss the coral lips of your darling:
      First press your face on hers,
      Then kiss her alluring eyes.
      Your head is now crowned with glory
      Because you're right at her feet.
      Take her lips in your mouth:
      Be a man, kiss her, heart and soul.
      No sugar is as sweet as she,
      Only wine is delicious like her.
      She is the one who serves the drinks:
      Rub your face on her feet, kiss her skirt;
      While her hands are busy playing games,
      wrap your arms around her;
      Fondle her fragrant mole,
      Kiss her sweet-scented eyebrows.
      Lover, she is God's gift to you, cherish her value:
      Keep caressing her neck,
      And off and on, kiss her smiling lips.

      The Turkish cupid, speaking through the poetry of princes and folk poets,
      sultans and professional poets, kept the passions of love alive century
      after century, making every day a "Day of Lovers", "St. Valentine's
      Day" or "Sevgililer Günü".

      * Prof. Talat S. Halman is the Chairman of the Department of Turkish
      Literature, Bilkent University