Desmond Painter. Wat beteken vryheid in tye soos hierdie? (Nazim Hikmet)

Die groot Turkse digter, Nazim Hikmet, is in Thessaloniki gebore — toe hierdie stad nog deel was van die Ottomaanse Ryk. Ek het die afgelope paar weke met ‘n kopie van Hikmet se Selected Poems, in Engelse vertaling, in my rugsak rondgeloop en hom gereeld gelees. Teen die agtergrond van die politieke en ekonomiese krisisse in Griekeland, en die vele protesoptogte wat gedurende my kort verblyf in Hikmet se geboortestad plaasgevind het (die woede, die desperaatheid van veral die werkers en die armes), is hierdie gedig nog net so relevant, nog net so ‘n aanklag, as wat dit was toe dit dekades gelede geskryf is: 

A Sad State of Freedom – deur Nazim Hikmet

 

You waste the attention of your eyes,
the glittering labour of your hands,
and knead the 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,
your 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.

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2 Kommentare op “Desmond Painter. Wat beteken vryheid in tye soos hierdie? (Nazim Hikmet)”

  1. Amanda Kruger :

    Ek hou baie van jou kommentaar en gedigte wat jy gekies het, veral die een deur Nazim Hikmet. Dit is stimulerend op so ‘n koue, vaal dag.
    Dankie!

    Amanda

  2. Desmond :

    Dankie! In Stellenbosch sous dit behoorlik, en is dit ‘n vaal dag in meer as een opsig.

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