Time in the Ripening of Fruit

In March 2020 İlhan Sami Çomak and Caroline Stockford began to send each other 5 separate stanzas by post between the UK and Silivri Prison. They wrote in Turkish and responded to each other’s opening stanzas with one of their own. The poems are translated between Turkish and English by Caroline and Turkish poet and editor Erkut Tokman.

Now, several Welsh and Norwegian poets are writing poetry with Ilhan Çomak. We hope this will continue and welcome new poets to join us.

I had a pomegranate, quinces, I spent time in
the ripening of fruit. It was morning. And they
saw the summer sun overflow from me.
With the eternal beauty of my childhood
I said, Fall down, you mountain! Cease, you winds!
They threw stones at me. We got there, and they
threw stones at me. I was sleepless. The birds
were warbling in full flow. The waters were torpid,
my steps a little rushed. I said, The names of flowers
are spinning in my head, their memories, their scents
are trembling on and on. But they threw stones at me
from that place called life.
Did you see? Did anyone?
I won't turn my head away, and there's no escape
from now. We are what it means to live, it's us.
And all the stones we touch will one day return
to sand. The hand of patience puts everything
in its place, in time. I can't tell this to the weary
mountains, or the fretful seas, they are both
older than me. Birds fly over heads of
good and bad, led on by vibrations.
And if it reflects our face, does water
not also see us? We wear the things we know
like new brooches. The mountains are laughing
at us, showers of falling stones chuckling.
In my hand I will catch every stone they threw at you.

Stanza 1: İlhan Sami Çomak, Silivri Prison, March 2020
Stanza 2: Caroline Stockford, Bristol, April 2020

Translated from Turkish by Caroline Stockford

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