“Women” by Bejan Matur

(Translated from the Turkish by Suat Karantay)

With their blue tattoos
And bruises from endless mournings
They stand still looking at the fire
They all shiver when the wind blows
Their breasts bend to the earth

Carrying burning wood in their hands
Old as black rusty cauldrons
Women continue their wandering
When the fire bursts in a rage
Voices multiply
The fire burns incessantly there
Extinguishing it is such a hassle

Women with shrunken breasts
Are thinking of the hardness of the wood
They’ll hold with their uncommonly slender hands
And keep silent
It is hard to guess their age when they are silent
They smell of the earth when they cry out

Unable to recollect where to direct their glances
They let their eyes rest on the earth
As clouds are not permanent in the sky
They relinquish themselves to the earth
Cordially
And occasionally exude a fragrance


http://www.wordswithoutborders.org/article.php?lab=WomenBejan

It is difficult to arrive at a reasonable estimate of the poet’s thoughts -what are they ? Is he thinking about the atavistic woman ,the archetypal suffering woman who has lost her sons,her husbands ,her fathers , her brothers in the  blazing fires kindled by man’s animal passions and  inhumanity to man? With their blue tattoos/ and bruises from endless mournings/They all shiver when the wind blows/Their breasts bend to the earth.

The most interesting reference is to the earth ,which is made again and again in the poem.

“their breasts bend to the earth”
“they smell of the earth when they cry out “
“They let their eyes rest on the earth”
“They relinquish themselves to the earth”

The second interesting reference is to the smells of different things -use of the olfactory sense.
“They smell of the earth when they cry out”
“They relinquish themselves to the earth
And occasionally exude a fragrance”

The third notable reference is to the breasts which happens twice-once when their breasts bend to the earth and the second time ,their breasts are referred to as “sunken”.Breasts are obviously used to denote motherhood and they bend to the earth because they are no longer full and have become shrunken due to the ravages of time.

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