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Guard your Heart Carefully

Mayy Ziyada
1922
Egypt (Original Language: Arabic)

Slowly the twilight lowered its curtain over earth,

cloud-margins bordered, patched and yoked with threads of gold and silver.

Mirrored in the bowers of sunset, tiny lake-images of ruby and pools of emerald faded,

and a gloomy morose melancholy settled on the earth.

Dejection settled over your eyes.

Inside you what sun sets, O young woman, and why does the evening distress you, that this cloudy gloom would coat your eyes?…

Poems and Letters

Ziya Gökalp
1918
Turkey (Original Language: Turkish)

POEMS (1918)

 

Language

For us Turkish is a beautiful tongue,

Another tongue, is like night to us.

Istanbul speech is

The purest, most refined for us.

 

In language the word everyone knows

Is considered genuine

The word whose meaning can be understood

Without a glance at the dictionary.

 

We don’t invent artificial words

We don’t veer to the false road

What is Turkified is Turkish

We don’t worship old roots

 

We must stick to plain words

Words must shed light on ideas;

From among synonyms

One must choose the Turkish words

 

If new words are required

Abide by everyone else in this too

Adopt the ways of the people

in creating words

 

Create words based on living Turkish

Without offending Turkish,

Let Istanbul Turkish

Guide your pleasure

 

Don’t be inclined toward Arabic

Never go to Iran either;

Learn the art of speaking from the people

Don’t listen to eloquent speech.…

With Pure Virtue’s Hand

‘A’isha Taymur
1894
Egypt (Original Language: Arabic)

With pure virtue’s hand I guard the might of my hijāb

and with faultless self-shielding, among my peers I rise

With my thoughts taking fire and my gift for sharp critique

I have brought my poet’s skills to new and perfect highs

I composed poetry expressing an assemblage:

before me, women sheltered, most noble, esteemed, wise

I uttered my verses just as light and playful speech

yet the eloquence of books and logic I much prize

Mahdī’s daughter, Laylā—these are my choice models

as with innate acuity my best thoughts I poetize

How superb these ladies are!…

Tazkirat al-Ahwal

٘Muhammad Ali ‘Hazin’ Lahiji
1742
Isfahan (Original Language: Persian)

[From Hazin’s days of study as a young man]

During those days [in Isfahan], of all the strange occurrences and events, there was the passion for a beauty [with such] manner of beautiful qualities, that my heart became maddened.

You showed me a trace of the beauty of the friend but / Should this world and the next collide I have no agitation or malevolence

A novel agitation befell the secluded palace of my mind and from my restless heart arose sedition and tumult.…

160 Kafis

Piro
Punjab (Original Language: Panjabi)

 

KAFIS 14-31

Turaks[1] (I)[2] left have come wheedling, they who stay aggrieved[3]

Scared they don’t come near (you), they roam about in discord

Piro (says) in guru’s court power of none will matter

What shall (I) say of others, even kings stutter

Petrified they (Turaks) come and cry before the guru

Wearing their scarves round their necks they stand with folded hands.…