Poems by Liliya Gazizova

বাংলা English

Turkish Rain

1

I was staring at Turkish rain

Sitting in the café for long

With strangers

Nice and close

Looking at the Egyptian obelisk,

And people running by without umbrellas,

Stroking the mewing kitty

Waiting for his meat delight.

I might be late for my plane

And … return to the café.

And stare at this Turkish rain again

Waiting for the next flight…

2

Only a few dogs live here,

Cats are flattering and fastidious here.

Nobody is in a hurry living here –

Time is melting like baklava in the mouth.

And it is impossible

To reach Russia by my cell-phone.

That’s a pity.

Or maybe, it’s good.

… I feel like a little stone

At the foot of a mountain.

My destiny

And my duties before my dearest are ephemeral.

Light and unreliable

The life in Istanbul is…

3

I am writing on the napkins

Sitting in the cafe near the Sultanahmet tower.

I don’t have any paper.

Who could know

That in Istanbul I would be so eager

To cover Turkish paper

With Cyrillic letters.

I am trying to understand

Why.

Because of Turkish cycle?

Or my short Turkish happiness?

4

I know nine steps of Istanbul.

The last of them leads

To my favorite bench,

Cherished, maybe.

Sitting on it in the evenings

I’m looking deep into the Bosporus…

What am I trying to see there?

I am looking at the full Moon,

And at the late passers-by.

And I begin to understand –

Nine steps of Istanbul

Haven’t led me to the bench –

I’ve just got a new book

About foreign life.

The Streets of Kazan

1

I was walking along Kirov’s Street

Crossing the garden,

Passing by the veterinarian clinic.

I was sad opening the door of the music school.

I had my “four with minus”[1] for my major there.

Sometimes Polina Semenovna was so wicked –

She didn’t like my hands,

They were too tense, she said.

I was squeezing the fiddlestick too tightly.

Going back home

I loved my life,

And Atlases who held the Earth.

2

I was walking along Tuqay[2] Street…

There was a school,

It is still there.

My little sister was there

Without bad marks.

She often fell ill

And parents never scolded her.

Sometimes I took her from school

But not very often.

Streetcars were driving along Tuqay street,

And ice-cream was sold at the stops.

I bought four:

Two for my sister and two for myself.

We were walking home discussing passers-by.

Once she asked me:  ‘You are beautiful,

Why not everyone turns his head on you?’

I don’t remember my reply.

I was pleased.

I am smiling now.

It is amazing

How everything in my city

Is connected with Tuqay –

Childhood,

Youth,

And old age some day.

A Key

Denis Osokin[3] says,

I’m a key to the city of Ka…

And I – a poet and a key –

Would like to shut this city for three days.

Neither dwellers, nor guests in it.

Let them plunge into

A free and sweet dream.

And I will walk

Along the ancient streets,

Big and small,

Scrutinizing and listening

To the colors and sounds.

Remembering the fiddlesticks and points

Of my sad childhood…

I would stand for a long time

At my great-grand called Mullanur…

My city would be very silent.

My injuries would leave me.

I would feel my city,

And forgive it

As a child…

As a king…

Translation by Olga Karasik


[1] According to the Russian system of grades at school, “four” is good, “three” is satisfactory. “Four with minus” is in between.

[2] Gabdulla Tuqay (1886 – 1913) was an outstanding Tatar poet, critic, publicist and translator.

[3] Denis Osokin – an author from Kazan.

Liliya Gazizova
Liliya Gazizova

Liliya Gazizova is a Russian poet of Tatar origin, essayist, and translator. Born in Kazan (Russia), she graduated from the Kazan Medical Institute as well as from the Moscow Literary Institute (1996). At the age of 16 she was the champion of Russia in the 400 meters hurdles.Her publications include fifteen collections of poems published in Russia, Europe and America. Her poems have been translated into many European languages and published in international anthologies. A recipient of several literary awards, she is the executive secretary of the New York-based international magazine Interpoezia. She is the compiler of the anthology «Contemporary Russian Free Verse» (2021). Currently, she teaches Russian literature at Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey.

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