Literature and Poetry

Naseem Hikmet

Angina Pectoris

Naseem Hikmet is a Turkish poet and playwright who was born in Salonika 1902-1963. He was imprisoned due to his communist activity. When he was released from prison he left Turkey and settled in Eastern Europe. His lyrical and patriotic poetry was influenced by Vladimir Mayakovsky with a folk style and use of free rhyming. He was awarded the Stalin Prize for Peace in 1950.

 

If only half of my heart is here. Doctor

The other half is in China

With the army that goes down to the Yellow River

And every morning, Doctor

Every single day at dawn

My heart is shot in Greece

And when the prisoners are deeply asleep

And the last of the steps echo in the clinic

My heart goes, Doctor

My heart goes to the old hut in Istanbul

And this too: it’s been ten years Doctor

That I have nothing to offer my tortured people

Nothing apart from an apple

A red apple. My heart.

I look at night through the railings

And although these walls are burdening my chest

My heart beats-beats with the distance of the stars

And those are the things Doctor

And not the calcification of the arteries, nicotine or imprisonment

That have caused my angina pectoris

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