"Today Sunday" Poetry


     Nâzım,points out the following in a poem written to Piraye:

How lovely it is to remember you
I should carve something for you out of wood:
                                                                        a drawer
                                                                                  a ring,
and I should weave three meters of fine silk.

Handcrafting objects for those he missed, as he thought about them, was not purely a turn of poetic phrase for Nâzım. Objects he handcrafted and sent to Piraye were very numerous. I myself have worn over several summers the white pants my mother made of cloth he had woven. He had poured even the glass of the mirror - in which he had engraved the figure of a horseman - whose box he had chiselled of chestnut for Suzan, my sister.
In the prisons, he would always find a way of entering the workshops, establishing friendships with the masters there. He first would apprentice himself to them, thus grasping the craft, learning their conventions and possibilities. Then he would contemplate possible innovations, introducing novelties.

In his wood engravings he used various kind of wood, but I believe his favourite was the chestnut.
One day you'd find him working on a tray using a hair-saw; the next day you could see him using the tools of the sculptor to make a box or a ring.
He'd remove the inside of an electrical bulb and cover it with beads; make for it a beaded stand so it would stand on a flat surface, topping it off with a chestnut box-covering to the object. The clock stands he made of beads were veritable works of mastery.


Nâzım's famous poem "Bir Cezaevinde Tecritteki Adamın Mektupları" begins in the following way:

I carved your name on my watchband
with my fingernail.
Where I am,you know,
I don't have a pearl-handled jacknife
(they don't give us anything sharp)
                    or a plane tree with its head in the clouds.
Trees may grow in the yard
but I'm not allowed
                                 to see the sky overhead...
How many others are in this place?
I don't know.
I2m alone far from them,
they are all together far from me.

And, these are the starting words of the letter he wrote to Piraye from the Ankara Headquarters Prison on 24 May 1938:

"My dear wife,
"My watch is broken. So I removed the mechanism and placed your photographs in the frame. Now I no longer check the time since at any rate I've begun loosing the sense of time. I don't look at the time, I look at your tiny portrait on my wrist."
Vaguely scraped with Nâzım's nails into the leather strap of the said troubled watch is Piraye's name. Inside is a photograph of Memet and Piraye, between their heads is placed the head of Suzan cut out from another photograph.