istanbulogy / VIDEO / August 14, 2012

Eyes closed listening to Istanbul

 

MÜŞFİK KENTER RECITING AN ORHAN VELI POEM

Müşfik Kenter, one of the greatest actors of Turkish theater, died of lung cancer today. As a gifted voice actor, he would fill our living rooms when the black and white TV with only one state channel and the radio were the only means of mass entertainment back in the 70s and 80s. I remember the schools trips to his theater, one of the few privately owned theaters in the city. Funny, yesterday while I was passing by his theater, I wondered how the theater has survived in the face of competition.

We were all familiar with his voice on radio sketches, commercials on state-run TV and films. and poems. He used to recite poems and his incredible voice would bring poems to life. and Here is one poem on Istanbul by a folk poet, Orhan Veli. And if you would like to hear it in English, here is the English version; I am listening to Istanbul. A very good translation but the images are of poor quality. I wonder if the footage is from the 80s. I am sure even if you don’t know the language, you will love the turkish version. Enjoy it!

 

I AM LISTENING TO ISTANBUL translated by Talat Sait Halman

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed:

And the leaves on the trees

Softly sway;

Out there, far away,

The bells of water-carriers unceasingly ring;

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed;

Then suddenly birds fly by,

Flocks of birds, high up, with a hue and cry,

While the nets are drawn in the fishing grounds

And a woman’s feet begin to dabble in the water.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

The Grand Bazaar’s serene and cool,

An uproar at the hub of the Market,

Mosque yards are full of pigeons.

While hammers bang and clang at the docks

Spirng winds bear the smell of sweat;

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed;

Still giddy from the revelries of the past,

A seaside mansion with dingy boathouses is fast asleep.

Amid the din and drone of southern winds, reposed,

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

A pretty girl walks by on the sidewalk:

Four-letter words, whistles and songs, rude remarks;

Something falls out of her hand –

It is a rose, I guess.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

A bird flutters round your skirt;

On your brow, is there sweet? Or not ? I know.

Are your lips wet? Or not? I know.

A silver moon rises beyond the pine trees:

I can sense it all in your heart’s throbbing.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

 

ORHAN VELİ

 


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Tags:  Müşfik Kenter memories Orhan Veli poetry poetry video theater




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2 Comments

Aug 24, 2012

So beautiful! Nice to hear people expressing their strong feelings for their native cities (as you are doing as well with your blog!)


    Mar 28, 2016

    <3 thank you!



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