Ilhan’s response to Lee Herrick

We had a celebrated pasture, that stroked 
my child's head with tenderness.  We called it  
'Tapë Kozikan' in Kurdish: Peak of Trenches. 
It took its name with Russian occupation, pre-WWI. 
I saw no trenches, just empty, bleached-out cartridges. 
I took its name to heart, like an old memory.

On Tapë Kozikan I rode my first horse. A chestnut. 
Accepting me, thanks to its biddable breeding. 
Bareback, I gripped its mane, its bright skin swarmed 
my legs like a warm wave. The horse's power made itself known, 
and I suffused the Spring with laughter.

His name was Koçe, he smelled clean, like someone 
from the same house. I had no fear. Do we learn it retrospectively? 
So I say: The horses that sweat and gallop  in my poems 
all assume the shape of Koçe.

Your poem filled the void of my lost past with a fresh breath. 
Poetry is on the side of the weak, a nameless bud, 
giving height to those who wish to fly. One day, 
let's walk at Tapë Kozikan with the joy of children 
playing hide-and-seek. Let's walk, walk, walk, 
until we smell the lofty scent of a horse. 

You ride on the horse with your tiredness 
and your words, and I will hold the halter. 
Friendship like that is such a thing!

Ilhan  Sami Çomak, March 2021
written in reponse to Lee Herrick's poem 'In a Daydream'

Translated by C.Stockford

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