Poem by Türkan Elçi, widow of assassinated Kurdish lawyer and human rights activist, Tahir Elçi, translated by Filiz Celik and Tom Cheesman. Click here to read the original poem.

We are riding horses my darling, we are riding horses in our high heels
The horses’ flanks are on fire between our thighs, our blood in the veins of the horses
We hit the roads my darling we hit the roads
We were soprano, mezzo soprano, contralto
We caressed the ravines of the valleys, severed the night with our looks
We made love to the wind; songs fell from our bright painted lips
Our lassoes wrapped around thrones
Phoenix birds shared their ashes and gazelles their kohl with us
Peacocks decorated our hair with feathers
Female snakes dropped venom from their fangs to the earth
Lakes of blood dried up when our horses’ shoes touched them
Ants chatted to our neighing horses
We entrusted strands of our hair to cellos, our voices rained from the clouds
We carried the valleys flapping with loneliness in our palms
We fed water to the night so it could break into dawn
While collecting smiles from stones where corpses are laid out
We were looking for our lovers at the summits of the mountains cutting the horizon
We dried up the sun with our pain, we looked and could not find ourselves in our shadows
God did not bring forth the sun for us
Gardens emerged on our path, we frequented their bosoms, cried and canoodled, we had been betrayed
Our dreams were devoid of us, we stepped out through non-existent doors to ourselves
We left our scarves infused with the footsteps of fear to the musk of the spring
Oh the garden! We said “when swallows descend five times a day to drink water something dies in us”
Oh the garden! Lotuses must be planted in the pond in your bosom, fish must sing in your lakes
We pranced with our horses, horses crazy beneath us, we crazier than the horses
Streams appeared in our paths, by the streamside we washed out our hurting parts in blood
We reached the opposite shore on makeshift rafts under broken bridges
We left the stains of grief in our eyes and the carnations we collected from the graveyards to the water
We are riding horses my darling, we are riding horses, with our horses we are the streams that flow over the earth

Related Posts