Bejan Matur

Bejan Matur is a pioneer among a bold new women’s poetry emerging from the Middle East. Her poetry engages directly and concretely with the struggles of her people, and yet there is also a mysticism in her writing, a closeness to nature, an embracing of mythology – a dialogue with God. Bejan Matur was born in 1968 to a Kurdish Alevi family in Marash, South-east Turkey. Her first collection of poetry, Rüzgar Dolu Konaklar (Winds Howl Through the Mansions, 1996), won a number of literary prizes. She is the author of four further collections and has also written prose books and works for the stage. Bejan Matur's poetry has been translated into 28 languages including French, Spanish and Chinese. She has two collections in English translation, In the Temple of a Patient God and How Abraham Abandoned Me (both with Arc).

Half-body shot of Bejan Matur looking directly at the camera with her arms crossed, in a green silk dress with pictures of faces on it

Events

Poetry at Sunset »

Kurdish poet Bejan Matur reading in translation with Jen Hadfield

Sun 8 March | 19:00 - 19:40 | free / ticketed | Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Conference Room

Poem

Lalesh

This is the sun.
And I am home. The nest
the peacock angel protects
waiting faithfully.
The man tells me –
Look, see the Black One
who hovers on the thresholds.
See the One who can save humanity...
He tells how human dignity
was preserved by the height
of these mountains.
He says Our sun is the first to set.
The baptism of children is a wish
hung on almond trees.
I start on the knots.
I begin in the dark, untying
wishes sealed into velvet.

Spring has come –
and your departure is
never-ending.

He tells me –
Leave your cold tears at the door.
This is our burden.
Don’t forget –
You belong here by the mountains.
In the morning we will welcome you...
Making offerings to
almond trees and stones,
in scarlet velvet,
hearts undimmed by pain,
they recognised me –
a secret believer.
I found calm sorrow in the mountain’s den.
And yes – I will come home,
to the almond trees and those knots
forgotten in the mountains.
 

Laleş

Bu güneştir
Bu da ev.
Meleğin koruduğu yuva
Bekler hep.
Diyor ki bana
Eşiklerden geçerek
Gör siyah olanı
İnsanlığı kurtaranı gör.
Hani o yükseklikten
Dağların insanı koruyan vakarından
Söz eden.
Başlıyorum düğümlerden
Kumaşların dileklerle mühürlendiği
Karanlıktan başlıyorum.
Ve batıyor güneşimiz bizim
Herkesten önce.
Çocukların vaftizi
Badem ağaçlarına
Asılmış dilek.
Bahar geldi
Ve gidişin senin
Bitmedi hiç.

Bana diyor ki
Gözyaşlarının soğukluğunu

Kapıda bırak.
O bizim borcumuzdur.
Unutma diyor
Evin bu dağların yanı.
Seni inananların sabahında
En önde ağırlayacağız
Kızıl kadifeler içinde
Badem ağaçlarına ve taşlara sunarak
Ve bilerek hangi acı karartmamış yürekleri.
Ben gizli bir inanandım
Ve gizli kaldım.
Sırrım çözüldü ve
O dağın kovuğunda
Bulduğum acıdan saadet
Ve benzerliğim onlara,
Evet yuvayadır dönüş
Ve yuva
Dağların arasında unutulmuş
Badem ağaçları
Ve düğümlerdir.

Bejan Matur, tr. Jen Hadfield and Canan Marasigil

From Akin to Stone (Poetry Translation Centre, 2020)