Hikmet; Yasha Remembers The Great War

Christian Ward


i.m Nazim Hikmet

A little unknown folktale
is that Nazim Hikmet could tune
into radio transmissions using
the power of his heart alone.
Guards at Bursa Prison noticed
he used to stroke his breast
and a loud transmission
would start to come out of his
mouth. He liked to listen
to broadcasts of Shostakovich,
the news, underground speeches.
Months before he died guards
reported that he was curled up
in his cell, frantically trying
to tune into the weather report,
eager for news of thunder.

Yasha Remembers The Great War

Yasha empties his pockets
of the Houdini clouds
he had been looking after,
transforming them into rain

with the ragdoll waltz
of a piano and accordion.
Leashed thunder claps
from the back of the room.

His obscure relatives,
faces vague like winter,
ask what the fuss is about.
So Yasha, being Yasha,

simply puts his hands
in his trouser pockets,
utters a Yiddish prayer,
and serves up lightning.

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