Home > Uncategorized > Nazim Hikmet: Sad kind of freedom, free to be an American air base

Nazim Hikmet: Sad kind of freedom, free to be an American air base


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Nazim Hikmet: The Little Girl


Nazim Hikmet
A Sad State Of Freedom
Translated by Taner Baybars

You waste the attention of your eyes,
the glittering labour of your hands,
and knead dough enough for dozens of loaves
of which you’ll taste not a morsel;
you are free to slave for others –
you are free to make the rich richer.

The moment you’re born
they plant around you
mills that grind lies
lies to last you a lifetime.
You keep thinking in your great freedom
a finger on your temple
free to have a free conscience.

Your head bent as if half-cut from the nape,
your arms long, hanging,
you saunter about in your great freedom:
you’re free
with the freedom of being unemployed.

You love your country
as the nearest, most precious thing to you.
But one day, for example,
they may endorse it over to America,
and you, too, with your great freedom –
you have the freedom to become an air-base.

You may proclaim that one must live
not as a tool, a number or a link
but as a human being –
then at once they handcuff your wrists.
You are free to be arrested, imprisoned
and even hanged.

There’s neither an iron, wooden
nor a tulle curtain
in your life;
there’s no need to choose freedom:
you are free.
But this kind of freedom
is a sad affair under the stars.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. liew
    August 27, 2011 at 9:25 am

    The world of fools. The focus of idiots who will make this world in a sorry state.


  2. mbkirova
    September 3, 2019 at 8:44 am

    One of my favorite poems ever.


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