Inspired by a painting by Nuri İyem (1915-2005)





I stare out the window,

watching the lonely street.

A raindrop hits the glass,

and another one,

then thousands play drums on the tin roof.

The faint figure of a man,

emerges from the far corner of the street.

My heart beats so fast,

I cannot hear the rain anymore.

He passes by and disappears…


Is it my weakness to see your reflection

in every man who passes along my way?

Is it because it’s been so long

since I last heard your familiar footsteps,

confident and equal,

approaching the gate,

and up the steps, one by one,

and with each one,

filling me with that certain warmth,

feelings of tranquillity and bliss.

My face brightens with a smile,

I touch my hair and move towards the door,

the key turns in the lock,

and the moment comes,

when eyes speak the mutual language

long before words are spoken.


It’s raining gently now,

lights are on in the houses near.

My room is dark, the bed is cold,

yet when I press my face against your pillow

my senses intensify in bringing you back

into my reality.


Why does one have to suffer so long

before one understands?

Why is it such a pain to learn?

Though time has made me weaker now,

I still refuse to surrender to despair,

I do believe when your journey

is finally complete,

the joy of that moment

when we shall meet again

will be so great that all the hard times

will vanish into the past.


If fate should be that I must go

before that moment comes,

then look for me in every flower,

in every cloud shape in the sky.

I shall come down to touch you in each drop of rain,

I shall be the air you breathe.

And when you release yourself

to the frolic of the waves

in the endless blue seas,

I shall be there to caress you

with every molecule of water.

I shall become the wind that sweeps your face,

the sun rays that wake you up each morning.

I shall travel with you

in all dimensions of the universe

for I do not know any boundaries.


The rain has stopped,

lights are fading in the houses near.

I listen to the sounds that magnify,

in the silence of the night.

Four walls, a roof and vast emptiness,

home is no home without you.

I am alone but not lonely,

volumes of memories keep me company

and all the time you exist within me.

Gently you stroke my hair

and I fall asleep…


Istanbul, 1977