(1955 / Istanbul)

The Tower Of Leander

Diving into the black waters at Salacak every evening,
he'd swim, sometimes easily, sometimes against the waves,
forgetting all he'd left behind the instant he reached
the woman with jet-black hair and coal-black eyes.

She was like the mysterious heroines of old:
You felt she could do anything at any moment, but didn't;
her visible beauty was breathtaking enough,
but it made you imagine and covet what you couldn't see.

They'd talk late into the night, gently touching
each other's cheeks with their fingertips
as though touching some unique, fragile treasure,
make love with a never-ending passion.

Then just after dawn he'd leap back in the waters
to spend the day uneasily on shore,
fretting through the endless hours
as he waited for night and his swim to happiness.

Like everything, the summer, too, ended one day;
as winter took hold, the waters changed and grew rough,
the Tower no longer seemed so close to the shore:
He had to put a greater trust in his arms and his love.

"Don't come to see me any more," she begged.
He wouldn't listen, just said: "Not being together
would be no different from death to me.
What have I to lose?"

And one evening
he did not turn up.

The Tower's deserted now:
No one swims to it, no one waits by the window,
in the empty rooms there's nothing but a warm breeze,
whispering, "A man loved a woman here long ago."

Translation: 2014, Savkar Altinel

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