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Hikmet: Çankiri Prison, 1938

By Joshua Weiner

Today is Sunday.
Today, for the first time, they let me go out into the sun.
And I stood there I didn't move,
struck for the first time, the very first time ever:
how far away from me the sky is
                        how blue it is
                        how wide.
I sat down, in respect, in awe, I sat down on the ground,
I leaned my back against the wall.
In this moment, there were no waves to fall into;
in this moment, there was no liberty, and no wife, my wife.
There was only the earth beneath me, the sun above me, and me.
And how I am grateful, I am happy, to have this thing I call my life.

Added: Friday, January 16, 2015  /  From "The Figure of a Man Being Swallowed by a Fish," (Chicago, 2013). Used with permission.
Joshua Weiner

Joshua Weiner is the author of three books of poetry: The World's Room (2001), From the Book of Giants (2006), and The Figure of a Man Being Swallowed by a Fish (2013).  He is also the editor of At the Barriers: On the Poetry of Thom Gunn (all from Chicago).   His most recent book, Berlin Notebook, prose about the refugee crisis, was published by the Los Angeles Review of Books in 2016.  He has been on the editorial staff of Tikkun magazine, where he serves as poetry editor, since the late 1980’s.  The recipient of the Witter Bynner Fellowship at the Library of Congress, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, he held the 2013 Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, and he is currently a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow.  His poems and essays have appeared in Best American Poetry, The New York Review of Books, The Nation, The American Scholar, Harvard Review, Poetry, AGNI, The New Republic, Brick, and elsewhere.  He is professor of English at the University of Maryland, and lives with his family in Washington DC. Visit his website.  

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