Nâzım As Painter
   Piraye's Portraits
   Prison Friends
   His Other Paintings
   Nâzım Reading


6 October 1945

Clouds pass,heavy with news.
The letter that didn't crumples in my hand.
My heart is at the tip of my eyelashes,
                            blessing the earth that disappears into the distance.
I want to call out : " P i r a y e ,
                                                 P i r a y e !.."

                                               tr. by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk
Çankırı, 1940, Kâğıt üzerine pastel, 25 x 36 cm I believe that Nâzım could reflect the inner world of Piraye very successfully in his portraits of her.
He knew that himself.
Under a portrait he painted in Çankırı Prison in 1940 and sent to my grandmother he had written:
" Mother,only you and I can see her like this,and only when she gets angry at you or me she gets that lovely. "
And under another portrait:
" The stone you throw doesn't reach the bird you aim. "
He was trying to paint Piraye in a certain mood and feeling.
Those who know my mother would say:
" Well caught! "
How lovely it is to remember you :
in the midst of the news of death and victory,
in prison and over forty years of age...

How lovely it is to remember you :
your hand forgeotten on a blue cloth
and in your hair
the grave softness of my beloved Istanbul earth...
It is like a second human in me
                                            the hapiness of loving you...
The smell of geranium leaf on the fingertips,
a sunny ease
and the call of flesh :
                             parted by quite red lines
                                                                  a warm
                                                                       deep darkness...

How lovely it is to remember you :
to write about you,
to lie back in prison and think of you :
that day, that place, the words you said,
                                             not the words themselves
                                                       but the way you said them...

How lovely it is to remember you.
I should carve something for you out of wood:
                                                                         a drawer
                                                                                  a ring,

an I should weave three meters of fine silk.
And jumping right up
                             from my place
grabbing the iron bars at my window,
to the milk - white blueness of freedom
                       I should shout out the poems I wrote for you.

How lovely it is to remember you :
in the midst of the news of death and victory,
in prison
and over forty years of age...

                                                                                  tr. by Fuat Engin
23 September 1945

What is she doing now,
                      right now, this instant?
Is she in the house or outside?
Is she working,lying down,or standing up?
Maybe she's just raised her arm,
- hey,
           how this suddenly bares her thick white wrist!..-

What is she doing now,
                      right now, this instant?
Maybe she's petting
                               a kitten on her lap.
Or maybe she is walking, about to take a step,
- those beloved feet that take her straight to me
                                                            on my dark days!..-
And what's she thinking about -
- oh,I don't know -
                                 why the beans refuse to cook?
Or else
           why most people are this unhappy?

What is she doing now,
                      right now, this instant?

                            tr. by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk
5 November 1945

Forget the flowering almonds.
They aren't worth it:
in this business
            what cannot come back should not be remembered.

Dry you hair in the sun:
            let the wet,heavy reds
                        glow with the languor of ripe fruit...
My love, my love,
the season

                  tr. by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk
My wife,

It's the twelfth year of yearning
            the twelfth year.
The heart is full to the brim.
You I say I remember Istanbul
            Istanbul I say I remember you.
You are as beautiful as my city
            my city is grieving as you.

That's all my wife. Don't answer if
you don't want to.
                                    Your husband

     Thanks to the influence of his maternal uncle Ali Fuat Cebesoy, Nâzım sporadically became the recipient of privilege in the Bursa Prison.
     A doctor's report would for example be drafted to the effect that he needed to visit the baths for his rheumatism, and he would be permitted to go to a spa-hotel daily, accompanied by a gendarme officer.
     In fact, this served him as opportunity to meet with Piraye. He would go to the hotel in Çekirge, where she was staying and spend a few hours with her.
     If they chanched upon a street photographer, they would have their picture taken in the gardens of the hotel, against a background of the panorama of the Bursa plain and Nilüfer.
     If I'm not mistaken, this photograph too, was taken - albeit against the sky - in the garden of a hotel, by a street photographer. Because the faulty lighting has stamped out his face, Nâzım eventually took the detail of Piraye's head alone, and had it enlarged.
     There are photographs of the couple, taken similarly from a lowered angle. Nâzım apparently liked this angle, as well as the play of light and shadow on the faces. He made an oil painting measuring 31x44 cm. using shades of red alone, based on this photograph of Piraye.