Ahmet Arif (1927- 1991) – Turkey

Ahmet Arif (Turkey)

Ahmed Arif (21 April 1927 in Diyarbakır – 2 June 1991 in Ankara) was a TurkishKurdish poet.[1]

Ahmet Arif was born on April 23, 1927 in the Hançepek district of Diyarbakır. Most of his childhood and youth spent in Diyarbakır. When Ahmet Arif was still a baby, his mother, Sare, died. That’s why he never knew his mother. Ahmet Arif is 8 brothers in total. He is the youngest among his siblings. Ahmet Arif learned how to read and write from a kindergarten before primary school. Ahmet Arif completed his primary, secondary and high school education in Diyarbakır. Ahmet Arif, a graduate of Diyarbakır High School, started writing poems in high school life.
He enrolled in Ankara University Faculty of History and Geography for university education. He could not complete the Philosophy section from here. During his university life, he was investigated and arrested twice. He wrote various writings and poems that he wrote while he was in the department of philosophy with his own lyricism. Ahmet Arif, who has his own style, has managed to gain an important place in Turkish literature. His first poem was published in Seçme Demeti Şiirler magazine. The magazine paid Ahmet Arif 10 lira for copyright. Ahmet Arif learned Zaza, Kurdish and Arabic in a short time due to the geography he lived in.
He did his military service in the Riva district of Istanbul. After coming from the military, he worked in various newspapers. He published his first book in 1968. His book, Longing for Shackles, I Old, was highly appreciated and reached high circulation. Then he wrote a poem with the same name. This poem, which he voiced with his own voice, has reached more than 20 thousand buyers.

Thirty-Three Bullets


  This is the Mengene mountain
  When dawn creeps up at the lake Van
  This is the child of Nimrod
  When dawn creeps up against the Nimrod
  One side of you is avalanches, the Caucasian sky
  The other side a rug, Persia
  At mountain tops glaciers, in bunches
  Fugitive pigeons at water-pools
  And herds of deer
  And partridge flocks…

  Their courage cannot be denied
  In one-to-one fights they are unbeaten
  These thousand years, the servants of this area
  Come, how shall we give the news?
  This is not a flock of cranes
  Nor a constellation in the sky
  But a heart with thirty-three bullets
  Thirty-three rivers of blood
  Not flowing
  All calmed to a lake on this mountain


  A rabbit came up from the foot of the hill
  Its back is motley
  Its belly milk-white
  A mountain rabbit, pregnant, lost up here
  Its heart heaved to its mouth, poor thing
  It can draw repentance from man.
  The hour was solitary, a solitary time
  It was faultless, naked dawn

  One of the thirty-three looked
  In his body the heavy void of hunger
  Hair and beard all tangled
  Lice on his collar
  He looked, and his arms were wounded
  This lad with hellion heart
  Looked once at the rabbit
  Then looked behind
  His delicate carbine came to his mind
  Sulking under his pillow
  Then came the young mare he brought from the plain of Harran
  Her mane blue-beaded
  A blaze on her forehead
  Three fetlocks white
  Her cantering easy and generous
  His chesnut mare
  How they had flown in front of Hozat!

  If he were not now
  Helpless and tied like this
  The cold barrel of a gun behind him
  He could have hidden on these heights
  These mountains, the friendly mountains, know your worth
  Thank God, my hands will not put me to shame
  These hands that can flick off with the first shot
  The burning tobacco ash
  Or the tongue of the viper
  Sparkling in the sun
  These eyes were not duped even once
  By the ravines waiting for avalanches
  By the soft, snowy betrayal of cliffs
  These knowing eyes
  No use
  He was going to be shot
  The order was final
  Now the blind reptiles will devour his eyes
  The vultures his heart.


  In a solitary corner of the mountains
  At the hour of morning prayer
  I lie
  Long, bloody…

  I have been shot
  My dreams are darker than night
  No one can find a good omen in them
  My life gone before its time
  I cannot put it into words
  A pasha sends a codded message
  And I am shot, without inquest, without judgment

  Kinsman, write my story as it is
  Or they might think it a fable
  These are not rosy nipples
  But a dumdum bullet
  Shattered in my mouth…


  They applied the decree of death
  They stained
  The half-awakened wind of dawn
  And the blue mist of the Nimrod
  In blood
  They stacked their guns there
  Searched us
  Feeling our corpses
  They took away
  My red sash of Kermanshah weave
  My prayer beads and tobacco pouch
  And left
  Those were all gifts to me from friends
  All from the Persian lands

  We are guardians, relatives, tied by blood
  We exchange with families
  Across the river
  Our daughters, these many centuries
  we are neighbours
  Shoulder to shoulder
  Our chickens mingle together
  Not out of ignorance
  But poverty
  We never got used to passports

  This is the guilt that kills us
  We end up
  Being called

  Kinsman, write my story as it is
  Or they might think it a fable
  These are not rosy nipples
  But a dumdum bullet
  Shattered in my mouth


  Shoot, bastards
  Shoot me
  I do not die easyly
  I am live under the ashes
  I have words buried in my belly
  For those who understand
  My father gave his eyes on the Urfa front
  And gave his three brothers
  Three young cypresses
  Three chunks of mountain without their share of life
  And when friends, guardians, kin
  Met the French bullets
  Out of towers, hills, minarets
  My young uncle Nazif
  His moustache still new
  Good horseman
  Shoot, brothers, he said
  This is the day of honour
  And reared his horse…

  Kindsman, write my story as it is
  Or they might think it a fable
  These are not rosy nipples
  But a dumdum bullet
  Shattered in my mouth…



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