In March 2020 İlhan Sami Çomak and Caroline Stockford began to send each other 5 separate stanzas by post between the UK and Silivri Prison. They wrote in Turkish and responded to each other’s opening stanzas with one of their own. The poems are translated between Turkish and English by Caroline and Turkish poet and editor Erkut Tokman.
Now, several Welsh and Norwegian poets are writing poetry with Ilhan Çomak. We hope this will continue and welcome new poets to join us.
I had a pomegranate, quinces, I spent time in the ripening of fruit. It was morning. And they saw the summer sun overflow from me. With the eternal beauty of my childhood I said, Fall down, you mountain! Cease, you winds! They threw stones at me. We got there, and they threw stones at me. I was sleepless. The birds were warbling in full flow. The waters were torpid, my steps a little rushed. I said, The names of flowers are spinning in my head, their memories, their scents are trembling on and on. But they threw stones at me from that place called life. Did you see? Did anyone? I won't turn my head away, and there's no escape from now. We are what it means to live, it's us. And all the stones we touch will one day return to sand. The hand of patience puts everything in its place, in time. I can't tell this to the weary mountains, or the fretful seas, they are both older than me. Birds fly over heads of good and bad, led on by vibrations. And if it reflects our face, does water not also see us? We wear the things we know like new brooches. The mountains are laughing at us, showers of falling stones chuckling. In my hand I will catch every stone they threw at you. Stanza 1: İlhan Sami Çomak, Silivri Prison, March 2020 Stanza 2: Caroline Stockford, Bristol, April 2020 Translated from Turkish by Caroline Stockford