Le Api dell'Invisibile - Ossigeno poetico

Le Api dell'Invisibile torna con un'uscita speciale dedicata alle parole dell'affermato poeta turco Ataol Behramoğlu e all'ispirazione che da esse hanno saputo trarre le giovanissime Ilaria Guarisco e Michela Primerano, che nel corso dell'anno hanno collaborato con La Casa della Poesia di Como nell'ambito del progetto di Alternanza Scuola-Lavoro.

Un'uscita eccezionale per la rubrica dunque anche nei contenuti. Oggi Le Api dell'Invisibile propone di riflettere sul meccanismo con cui la poesia agisce quotidianamente per ciascuno di noi. Proviamo a pensare al cervello umano come a un sistema di ricorcolo dell'aria e ci verrà facile comprendere perchè è importante celebrare e promuovere il lavoro che queste due giovani hanno compiuto su poesie altrui. Stare chiusi nella propria scatola a chiusura ermetica, bastevoli a se stessi, porta di sicuro alla morte per asfissia: per sopravvivere abbiamo bisogno di cambiare ossigeno, abbiamo bisogno di un ricircolo d'aria. Così anche la scrittura e le parole non bastano a se stesse e a chi le scrive, ma necessitano di essere lette, rilette e reinterpretate. Il lavoro di Ilaria e Michela dimostra quanto sia possibile e bello fare nostre le parole altrui, a un livello di empatia e comprensione così intimo da potersi quasi scordare da quale fonte esse si siano originate. La mente umana funziona solamente con l'opzione ricircolo sempre attiva: facciamo circolare pensieri, esperienze e sentimenti altrui dentro noi stessi; ma ciò che davvero rende l'essere umano straordinario è la sua capacità di rendere proprio ciò che è stato creato da altri. Con le loro opere Michela e Ilaria non hanno celebrato solamente la creatività di Ataol Behramoğlu, ma anche la loro stessa inventiva insieme a quella di tutti coloro che ogni giorno prendono le parole altrui e se ne lasciano ispirare per creare qualcosa di nuovo e altrettanto straordinario.

"Turchia, mia infelice terra, mia amabile terra"

di Ataol Behramoğlu

(traduzione dall'inglese di Ilaria Guarisco)

Turchia, mia infelice terra, mia amabile terra

Girasole dallo stelo piegato

Sei il futuro della poesia e dell’amore

Turchia, mia infelice terra, mia amabile terra

Vento di montagna, il miele d’arancio

Umile, abile, vibrante di passioni

Turchia, mia infelice terra, mia amabile terra

Sposa il cui destino è inciso nell’oscurità

Il latte asciutto nel suo seno

Turchia, mia infelice terra, mia amabile terra

Nel profondo bruci di un fuoco impetuoso

Impoverita nelle mani di ladri

Turchia, mia infelice terra, mia amabile terra

Mia saggia ricca di esperienza

I poeti: Yunus, Pir Sultan, Nazim

Turchia, mia infelice terra, mia amabile terra

Canti popolari, lamenti funebri, danze popolari

Pane fresco dal forno

Turchia, mia infelice terra, mia amabile terra

Mia madre, il suo viso tutto rugoso

Mio melograno piangente, melo sorridente

Turchia, mia infelice terra, mia amabile terra

Luce solare sui vigneti

Meritevole del più meraviglioso futuro

Turchia, mia infelice terra, mia amabile terra

Ti contorci sotto le catene

Quando ti si pensa finita hai appena iniziato

"Lirica a una bambina in piedi presso la porta"

di Ataol Behramoğlu

(traduzione dall'inglese di Ilaria Guarisco)

La bambina in piedi presso la porta

Mi richiama una visione rurale

Scintille di sole nei suoi capelli

Nei suoi occhi si agita l'oceano

Nella bambina in piedi presso la porta

Tutte le ere si fanno complete

Le montagne nascono con un crepitio

I potenti oceani diventano profondi

Gli amori iniziano e giungono a una fine

E il mondo continua a girare

La notte e il giorno si trascinano l’un l’altro

In ordine, senza deviare

La bambina sta in piedi presso la porta

Inconsapevole di tutto questo

Da dentro di lei e senza

La vita fluisce senza sosta.

Riflessioni di Ilaria Guarisco sulle poesie di Ataol Behramoğlu


Give me a cigarette, my mother died

She died this morning around five I suppose

Allah Allah, my dear, what’s the big surprise

I told you, that’s all, my mother died

Don’t look at me like that, you’ll make me laugh

If we had a mirror, you’d see how dumb you look

Just my touch would make you too laugh

Why don’t you give up playing it by the book

This past year she didn’t even play the violin

As her wrinkles multiplied, she grew angry

They were dad’s fault, as though made by him

And she kept on saying, no one understands me

If you want, let’s go to the movies or something

There’s a Nadya film playing at the Tayyareh

My younger brother cried a lot yesterday evening

Really, what’s up with Sabiha anyway?

The first poem I translated was “Sabiha”, which deals with the poet’s grief after his mother’s death. I was particularly struck by the fact that what emerges from the poem is Ataol’s resignation, more than his pain; he already knew his mother was going to die soon. She couldn’t play the violin anymore in the past year, so it was no surprise to him when she left this world. In this kind of poems, the ones that talk about a beloved’s death, the poet usually turns to divine in order to ask for a reason to such loss or to be freed from the burden of pain. Here instead, Ataol mentions Allah when he states that this death was expected, also because of his father whom he blames for his mother’s “wrinkles”, an image to represent her anger and frustration since she wasn’t understood. Nevertheless, reading between the lines I noticed the poet’s great pain hidden behind his words when he suggests going to the movies; he’s looking for a distraction, a way to occupy his mind with something other than his loss. The poem ends with a question: he’s wondering “What’s up with Sabiha”, as if her death didn’t happen. He’s in denial, he went so far into his search for distraction that now he puts everything in doubt.


There, where Walt Whitman is from, a black

In Harlem, its leaves after rain

Glass of gin, a double martini

As if feeling myself there in the dark

In Harlem, its leaves after rain

My hands and flesh that I left behind

If I don’t shut up, I’ll lose my mind

It’s like I have another me in train

Glass of gin, a double martini

I thought of your loveliest places

I thought of your loveliest places in the ugliest places

To forget and to die involved so little pain

As if feeling my self there in the dark

I perceived so many strange things

On Harlem a strange rain had begun to fall

There, where Walt Whitman is from, three blacks

The second poem, “A very strange black”, is more focused on matters of political and civic interest. Here I caught the poet’s desire for change. His motherland, Turkey, is under a regime that doesn’t leave much freedom of thought, and that oppressess minorities. He mentions Walt Whitman, a reference point in the battle for their rights fought by people of color in the United States. As I see it, Ataol implies that the Turkish people should follow their example and claim democracy, they should join together and fight. This idea of joining together is stressed by the fact that in the first line, only one black man is mentioned, whereas in the last one, there are three. Ataol never brings up the idea of moving away from his country, he just wants it to change. The idea of rain expressess this quite effectively; water washes away the old and reveals the new. Obviously, so as to change a whole country it is necessary to start from oneself; that’s why he has “another him in train”, he’s trying to become a better version of himself.


Today I made love and then I joined in a march

I’m exhausted, it’s spring, I’ve got to learn to shoot a gun

this summer

The books pile up, my hair’s getting long, everywhere there’s

a rumble of anxiety

I’m still young, I want to see the world, how lovely it is

to kiss, how lovely to think, one day surely we’ll win

One day surely we’ll win, you money-changers of old,

you goose-brains, you grand-vizier!

My beloved is an eighteen year-old girl, we’re walking down

the avenue, eating a sandwich, talking about the world

Flowers blossom ceaselessly, the wars go on, how can everything

end with a bomb, how can they win, those filthy men

Long I ponder, I wash my face with water, dress myself

in a clean shirt

This tyranny will end one day, this feast of plunder will end

But I’m tired now, I’m smoking a lot, a dirty overcoat

on my back

Furnace smoke rises into the sky, in my pockets

books of poetry in Vietnamese

I think of my friends at the other ends of the earth,

of the rivers at its other ends

A girl dies quietly, dies quietly over there

It is clear that this poem belongs to Ataol’s youth. It’s much longer than the other two, and it’s a continuous flow of thoughts and images that pour out of his impetuosity. There isn’t a logical order in this poem, but we can get what the sense is; the composition is like a chant, a marching song against the war in Vietnam and other civic problems. The time for change is now, Turkish young people march and state this. It’s no longer possible to stick to the old school of thought, the country needs renewal. Ataol is aware that he risks his personal freedom, because he could get arrested at any given moment, but this doesn’t stop him, he is not afraid and accepts his fate. Lastly, I noticed an analogy between the young girl who dies in Vietnam without being heard by anyone and Ataol’s lover, who fights the same battle for freedom.


Turkey, my unhappy land, my lovely land

Sunflower with bowed neck

The future of poetry and love

Turkey, my unhappy land, my lovely land

Mountain wind, the honey of oranges

Humble, skillful, passionate

Turkey, my unhappy land, my lovely land

The bride whose fate is inscribed in black

The dried up milk in her breasts

Turkey, my unhappy land, my lovely land

Burning deep inside with a raging fire

distressed in the hands of thieves

Turkey, my unhappy land, my lovely land

My wise and experienced land

The poets: Yunus, Pir Sultan, Nazim

Turkey, my unhappy land, my lovely land

Folk songs, dirges, folk dances

Bread fresh from the oven

Turkey, my unhappy land, my lovely land

My mother, her face all wrinkled

My weeping pomegranate, smiling quince

Turkey, my unhappy land, my lovely land

Sunshine on the grapevines

Deserving of the most beautiful future

Turkey, my unhappy land, my lovely land

Writhing beneath her chains

Beginning where they thought her done

This poem reminded me of a funeral dirge because of the recurring repetition of the first line, which is also the title. The anaphora is in fact typical in this kind of composition, where the name of the dead person is often mentioned, in this case, the name of the poet’s land. Along with this, I noticed the strong presence of the idea of light and rebirth expressed by images such as the sunflower, honey, fresh bread, grapevines and especially the pomegranade, that is a fruit full of seeds, typically a symbol of birth. These are all in contrast with strong and dark themes like the raging fire, the bride with no milk in her breast or the chians that restrain the country. The poet sees the tragic condition of his land, but he is certain that Turkey can rise again, it’s not hopeless. The country is wise, it’s like an old mother rich in experience. It also has a glorious past and a beautiful culture, as demonstrated by the three Turkish poets mentioned. Others may think that Turkey is dead and “done”, and they can’t see a future for this country, but it is not Ataol’s case: he sees his motherland’s many resources, its strenght, and he knows that one day Turkey will rise up against the thieves that have robbed it and tried to end it.


I raised my face to the clouds

Murmuring as though in prayer

Washing myself with birds and grasses there

With the winds and springtime

The sun on my eyelids is warm

Ah! That fickle springtime sun

Is this real, or do I dream

I am here, or am not it seems

In a southern town, a coffeehouse by the shore

In waves, ears of grain endlessly roll

Here, alone with myself

This is how I can make my life whole

I have never kissed a bird on its tongue

Some day, perhaps, I can kiss one so

Some day, perhaps, I'll become a gust of wind

And across the ears of grain I'll blow

I want my heart to merge with a summer's day

In birdsong to be born anew

This is a more lyrical poem; Ataol describes the sensations he feels when he is surrounded by nature. He feels the warmth of sunlight on his closed eyes, the sound of chirping birds, the winds of springtime on his skin. I flet his wish to become a whole with nature: he says that maybe one day he’ll become a gust of wind and blow in a field of grain, he wants to kiss a bird and merge with a day of summer. This sequence of images linked to nature’s rebirth during springtime gave me a sense of peace. What came to my mind while reading this poem was the memory of myself lying on the grass sunbathing in a meadow where I have been last summer, on the shore of a lake near where I live; it’s a very pleasant memory.


That summer sun which blinds my eyes

Turns into the image of a vanishing love

A sense of being lost that brings hints to me of my childhood

From the alienation within on desolate afternoons

A traveler who's lost his way in a strange town

Who knows whence come and going whither

An echo, that will never return to its voice

Repeating itself forlornly in the emptiness

Ever does that summer sun, that unconsoling sun above

Turn into the image of a vanishing love

The river was flowing like a