Ilhan’s response to John Macker

You rightly say I've stayed so long in exile 
in this well, the sun, never returning!
I still have a yearning within me for light.
I love the sun, and the loop of the moon 
I see so little of. Each spring the steam 
files up from warming soil. I'm as far from spring, 
soil and steam as a severed hand.

Still I piece all that I miss into a single picture.
Into that wounded bird called freedom.
I must do it, so I won't forget.
Life is severe, defiant and all walled 
because I'm here. I say: the blossoms 
of the first cherry tree, breaking into air, 
How do they smell? Can you tell me this 
and what their colour is?
I seem to have forgotten.

Ilhan Sami Çomak
February 2021

Translated by Caroline Stockford

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