Politics, religion, and culture where East meets West

“A Sad State of Freedom”

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An interesting, perpetually-relevant poem by Turkish poet Nâzım Hikmet entitled “A Sad State of Freedom”:

You waste the attention of your eyes, 
the glittering labour of your hands, 
and knead the dough enough for dozens of loaves 
of which you’ll taste not a morsel; 
you are free to slave for others– 
you are free to make the rich richer. 

The moment you’re born 
they plant around you 
mills that grind lies 
lies to last you a lifetime. 
You keep thinking in your great freedom 
a finger on your temple 
free to have a free conscience. 

Your head bent as if half-cut from the nape, 
your arms long, hanging, 
your saunter about in your great freedom: 
you’re free 
with the freedom of being unemployed. 

You love your country 
as the nearest, most precious thing to you. 
But one day, for example, 
they may endorse it over to America, 
and you, too, with your great freedom– 
you have the freedom to become an air-base. 

You may proclaim that one must live 
not as a tool, a number or a link 
but as a human being– 
then at once they handcuff your wrists. 
You are free to be arrested, imprisoned 
and even hanged. 

There’s neither an iron, wooden 
nor a tulle curtain 
in your life; 
there’s no need to choose freedom: 
you are free. 
But this kind of freedom 
is a sad affair under the stars.

Written by M. James

July 8, 2011 at 2:39 am

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