(1955 / Istanbul)

The Magpie

Just this side of the Erasmus Bridge,
in the middle of the bustling city,
among all the concrete and the glass,
among the steel and the building sites,
I came across a solitary magpie.

Perched on a branch by the asphalt road,
it scanned the view and landed on the grass.
Neither the traffic, nor the port and boats
appeared to bother it in the least. Was it
bravery or indifference, I could not tell.
It pecked once at the earth, and was gone.

It reminded me of a Japanese soldier,
unaware, forty years later, that the war
had long ended, still resisting, alone
and determined, on a remote island
in the Pacific, or the forests of Borneo.

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