The Dark Peace of the Graves
|From Les Sept Merveilles d'Istanbul (1951?)|
Les cyprès immobiles s'allongent sur le ciel gris. Indolemment planent les mouettes. Les tombes sont disseminées entres les cyprès.Translated, roughly (both in texture and in style):
Des vieilles maisons de bois et des cafés d'où s'échappent des bouffées de musique nasillarde bordent la rue qui devient de plus en plus étroite et qui serpente entre des mausolées de princes, de sultanes, de vizirs et de capitaines illustres. Tout le passé, toute l'histoire tumultueuse de l'Empire Ottoman gît là dans la paix noire des tombes.
The cypresses lie still upon the grey sky. The gulls hover lazily. The graves are scattered among the cypresses.There's much more to write -- first, how this slim book is written in French but published in Turkey; second, how its seven marvels come to be chosen, come to be written about; and third, how this description of Eyüp -- beautiful as it is -- bears only a tenuous connection to the kinds of transformations that were taking place in the neighborhood during the 1950s. It's a scene devoid of people, of factories, of a city lived in.
The old wooden houses and the cafes from which escape bursts of twangy music line the street that becomes increasingly narrow and snakes between the mausoleums of princes, of sultans, of viziers, and of illustrious captains. The entire past, the entire tumultuous history of the Ottoman Empire lies here in the dark peace of the graves.
But still -- the gulls hover lazily.