Nilgün Marmara


Sorrowful is scarlet and its end Scattered pieces from dead finch. Clock strikes by a roadless side, We get encircled as we circle our life. Empty tummy, arid brain, Mouths inside a lime pit and busted is the feeling everywhere. The wand that rendered our life noble ran away unwanted. Open spaces widowed windows will match no more, Stars are frozen on a scarlet lake.


In the hidden winters of water, swims a blind salamander for centuries long. Every night knowing this On a cave wall A blue slave puts her shadow to sleep. Mountains of the slave dance in the dark, Just so wings remain a dream, the slave remains sole on the same wall and the salamander swims in its non-way. Blind salamander! Won’t its hands get worn out groping? Its eyeless head is sure to get yanked, As its hands become eyes and its eyes hands.


Countries on a misty atlas are
houses that smell of mold now,
plastered with the blood of wounded seagulls.

One turns around clumsily,
in the house it entered by mistake,
comparing the corpse of the world on its wings
with what happens inside.

Outside, street kids play
red and green games,
pathetic tissue with limitless freedom!

The pained body of the seagull drops.

Love is a little rug;
A little sea counted by its walls!

* Translations by Sevda Akyuz

Nilgün Marmara (1958-1987) is a Turkish poet who produced quite an impressive body of poems during her brief lifetime. She studied English Literature at Boğazici University and wrote her thesis on Sylvia Plath. She and her husband were part of the contemporary poetry scene in Istanbul where they entertained famous poets in their home. All her work was published posthumously, which she allowed with a note she left. Typewritten Poems (1988), Texts (1990), Red Brown Notebook (1993), An Analysis of Sylvia Plath’s Poetry in the Context of her Suicide (2006), Notebooks (2016), and Papers (2016).