Tacettin Fidan

 Eşeği Saldım Çayıra 

Eşeği saldım çayıra

Otlaya karnın doyura 

Gördüğü düşü hayıra 

Yoranın da avradını 

Münkir münafıkın soyu

Yıktı harap etti köyü 

Mezarına bir tas suyu

Dökenin de avradını

Derince kazın kuyusun

İnim inim inilesin 

Kefen dikmeye iğnesin

Verenin de avradını

Dağdan tahta indirenin 

İşkatına oturanın

Hizmetini bitirenin 

İmamın da avradını 

Müfsidin bir de gammazin

Malı vardır da yemezin

İkisin meyyid namazın 

Kılanın da avradını 

Kazak Abdal söz söyledi

Cümle halkı dahleyledi

Sorarlarsa kim söyledi 

Soranın da avradını 

- KAZAK ABDAL (Kaygusuz Abdal)

İngilizce / English

This poem is not intended for children or the faint hearted!

"I let the jackass out to graze"

I let the jackass out to graze
Hoped he'd fill his belly and laze
If by some daydream he was graced  
Whoso then thinks that's God's embrace
(Well, f... him and f...) his mate too

Mischief makers and godless creed  
By whom our town was wrecked now bleed  
Were one to bless such grave and bleat
Whoso then waters weed and peat
(Then, f... him and f...) his mate too

Dig deep, deeply into his well
So that he'll moan and groan and yell
Were his shroud not yet sewn - O well!
Whoso threads a needle and shall
(Then, f... him and f...) his mate too

Them loggers there taking down trees 
And those who build them back to please 
Such services whoso then does lease
Were they clerics taking big fees
(Then, f... him and f...) his mate too 

O see them villains and them moles 
With hoarded treasures but no souls
To such pair and for such... blest scrolls
Whoso will heed and does pay tolls
(Well, f... him and f...) his mate too 

Wandering Whitegoose had his say
He did everyone stir and fray
Then, whoso asks in awe today
Pray, who was it that such talk bray? 
(Well, f... him and f...) his mate too

- KAZAK ABDAL (Whitegoose the Wanderer)
aka Kaygusuz Abdal (Carefree Wanderer)

About the Poet and the Poem:
Not very much is known about 'KAZAK ABDAL' - 'Whitegoose The 'Wanderer' aka 'Kaygusuz Abdal' - 'Carefree Wanderer' with any certainty, yet mysteriously and thankfully his yarns are still with us. It is believed that he lived in the early 15th century, in and around what is today southeastern Turkey, and that he came from an upper class family. Whitegoose was a peculiar sort of Muslim Dervish (monk), and true to his own Turkish heritage, he mocked the official paradigms as he enjoyed pork and was a heavy drinker of wine and other liquors!  Apparently, a real sage but not a killjoy, he was, for his times an exceptionally open-minded cleric.  

This poem is one of his surviving masterpieces. Despite that, he is still very popular worldwide. Perhaps, because he was outspoken and verbalized much of what so many wouldn't dare speak out-loud at that time.  Like this one, his other poems are also set in the popular easily understood Turkish vernacular, replete with irony that is also always masked in some dry humor.  

This is a more or less verbatim translation of his poem (albeit packaged here in a syntactic guise), as we get a rigorous cussing from Whitegoose in his very last stanza. Obviously, that was his warning to would be translators not to put words into his mouth!  So, I too complied with his wishes, but in a metalinguistic manner and context. Although, Whitegoose doesn't utter the 'four lettered word' anywhere in his poem, due to his tribal and regional modesty. Without it, the English version of the poem would be entirely meaningless and lacking its intended punch line. So, much like the rest of the poem, the very last repeated phrase is an implied inference. 

Please note that the word '˜Kazak'™ aside from denoting 'Whitegoose'™ could also mean a '˜Sweater'™ and/ore a '˜Digger'™ in Turkish, all depending on its usage and context in a particular work or statement; whereas the word 'Abdal'™ on its plus side may signify a 'Wanderer'™ and a '˜Dervish,'™ on its negative sense, it could indicate a 'Beggar,'™ a '˜Bum,'™ and even a '˜Loony!'™  Whitegoose, it appears, was the master of metaphors shrouded in intentional ambiguities. In this poem, from start to finish, there is a pious constructive criticism which may be taken to border on some form of anarchy.  Another less sinister interpretation could be that a caring but outraged spirit is having a conversation with himself about the human condition.

I always enjoyed this "monologue" in Turkish. I hope now you will too in English. 


© 2014 - (Translation) Tacettin Fidan.

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