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Yunus Emre, a famous Turkish poet who lived during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, is widely recognized as one of the most prominent Sufi figures. His poetry, written in the Turkish language, gained significant popularity, unlike the prevalent practice of composing poems in Persian or Arabic during that era.
Yunus Emre’s poetry, written in the same manner as his spoken conversations with people in central and western Anatolia, continues to be widely appreciated, even after 700 years since his passing.
I have a deep admiration for Yunus Emre and his poetry. There is an indescribable quality to it that sets it apart and leaves me in awe.
As a resident of Eskisehir, the city where Yunus Emre resided, and a passionate lover of Turkey, Eskisehir, and Yunus Emre himself, I have contemplated the idea of translating some of his profound poems into English. My goal is to share Yunus Emre’s wisdom with a wider audience, enabling others to also appreciate his timeless teachings.
I utilized the Eskisehir ministry of culture and tourism book on Yunus Emre Poetry to translate it into English, drawing upon my extensive knowledge of Turkish. Throughout the process, my focus was not only on maintaining the essence and significance of each poem but also on employing language that is easily comprehensible to readers, rather than simply opting for a literal translation.
I have also made some drawings inspired by Yunus’s poems. I hope you enjoy it.
Allah’s presence fills the world so wide, Yet His true essence, from many does hide. Seek within, and you might find a clue, For the truth in yourself always rings true.
The world beyond remains unseen, Here on Earth, let our deeds be clean. Exile brings pain, a heavy stone, Once gone, none have ever flown home.
So let’s be friends, and make life sweet, Ease each other’s burdens, whenever we meet. Be lovers, be dear ones, cherish the sun, For this Earth’s for all, not just for one.
Yunus speaks with clarity, for all to hear, His words echo in the heart, drawing near: Live well and just, while on this sphere, For no one remains, year after year.
Yunus Emre Poetry (Second Poem)
If I lay my face upon the ground, A crescent moon in the sky is found. Winter and summer, to spring they bend, Every day for me, is a festive trend.
Let no cloud ever dare to conceal, The moon’s radiant glow, its luminous zeal. From earth to heavens, a shimmer does sprinkle, As stars with the moonlight, playfully twinkle.
From the heart’s lone chamber, a light does unfold, Banishing darkness, its brilliance bold. How can this chamber, so bright and profound, Harbor shadows, when light is around?
My moon is here, on this earthly plane, Why seek the vast sky, when here it does reign? Mercy rains upon me, my gaze does not waver, From this land, God’s blessings I savor.
Jonah had many, who in God did confide, Yunus too, with love, bows his head in pride. For in the glow of God’s love, he does thrive, Guided by its light, making his spirit alive.
Knowledge is more than what’s in view, True wisdom is knowing oneself, it’s true. If you’re unaware of the soul deep within, Then what’s the worth of the knowledge you win?
Reading’s purpose isn’t just to claim, It’s to uncover truth, not just a name. If you read but don’t seek the truth that’s due, Then reading’s purpose is lost on you.
Claim not, “I read and I understand”, Or “In acts of obedience, I firmly stand”. If truth’s essence, you’ve yet to discern, Then your time on earth, is of no return.
Four books may hold a truth so vast, In a single letter, a thousand’s cast. But if that thousand, you fail to see, What worth is reading, tell me?
Twenty-nine letters, end to end they span, Yet, the essence remains elusive to man. “Master, is it a thousand?” you ask in glee, But what’s the true meaning, can you see?
Yunus Emre tells you, clear and loud, “Pilgrimage a thousand times, if you’re so vowed.” But if you ask what’s best in my heart’s quest, Pilgrimage to the heart, surpasses the rest.
Listen close, friends so dear, Love’s radiant glow is ever near. A heart untouched by love’s embrace, Is cold and lifeless, lacking grace.
What blooms in hearts so hard and cold? Though words may start soft, soon they scold. From gentle whispers to shouts so loud, A mere spark, and conflict’s the crowd.
In love, souls burn with fervent heat, Melting like wax, soft and sweet. But hearts of stone, cold and bleak, Miss the warmth that all hearts seek.
Those who grasp God’s wisdom vast, Are like oceans, deep and fast. Devotees and sages, in that depth must tread, To bring forth treasures, by which they’re led.
To the wise, we’ve often sought, For pearls of wisdom, deeply thought. Only one skilled knows their true hue, The value of pearls, old and new.
Muhammad, in his wisdom and connection, Understood God’s vast affection. God’s grace is everywhere, it’s clear to see, As long as hearts are open and free.
Wise souls craft tales, black on pale, Words on parchment, telling a tale. But my holy verses, so pure and true, Are etched in hearts that love anew.
In graves, I found nations once alive, Mighty and great, they did thrive. Courageous souls, their stories untold, Among them, the young and the old.
Ministers, teachers, heroes of yore, All have passed, to return no more. Their days now enveloped in endless night, With death’s other captives, they share their plight.
Straight was their path, never did they sway, With pens, they’d write, come what may. Their voices, like nightingales, would ring, In graves now rest, the wise and the king.
Tears were shed, both high and low, For these leaders, whose end brought woe. In each grave, a bow lies broken, For valiant men, death was the token.
Horses raised dust clouds in their wake, Drummers marched, for their sake. Their might made both land and sea bow, Yet, in death’s cavern, they rest now.
Read also: Nazim Hikmet poems
We’ve stepped inside the realm of knowing,
The body’s secrets, now we’re showing.
With the sky in a spin and the earth in folds,
Beneath seventy thousand veils, truth unfolds,
All in the body, we’ve discovered, it holds.
Night and day, the planets’ unique journeys,
Sacred words etched on ancient gurneys.
The hike of Moses, the temple’s glory,
Israfil’s trumpet tells the story,
All this wisdom, found in the body.
Torah, Psalms or Quran’s tale,
What these books narrate without fail,
Their deepest truths, seeking no shroud,
Discovered within the body, we avow.
Everyone agrees, Jonah’s words have might,
Seek the truth, it’s in plain sight.
No need to look beyond measure high,
For within the body, everything lie.
Let’s endlessly speak of Allah, divine,
Let’s observe the acts of my Lord, as a sign.
Let’s journey tirelessly through life’s line,
Let’s observe the acts of my Lord, as a sign.
Just when you think it’s overwhelming,
Suddenly, the veil starts unraveling.
Help arrives at the perfect timing,
Let’s observe the acts of my Lord, enlightening.
What did Yunus do, you ask, what could be his plan?
Found a guided path, held firm a mentor’s hand.
In observing Allah’s work, under His command,
Let’s see what my Lord does, it’ll be grand.
To the silence, let the deaf lend an ear.
For the soul, its unveiling is so dear.
We comprehended without needing to hear,
Without understanding, its creation had no fear.
As such, the seeker’s wealth morphs into scarcity clear.
We embraced love and morphed into lovers so keen,
We were bestowed love, became the beloved, you’ve seen.
In every moment, if you to oblivion steer,
Who has the time in ennui to disappear?
God split peoples into 72 tongues, birthed founding fears.
But humble Jonah fills the earth and fills the vast sky,
Under every stone Moses lurks, he does not lie.
Our laws unlike any other remain,
In all of the land, there’s no equal to our faith gain.
Our principles from seventy-two factions diverge,
In myriad symbols, we find direction and urge,
In this world, and the world after, they do emerge.
With no need for earthly water’s cleanse,
No motion of hands, feet, or head we dispense,
Yet, we in reverence and reverence commence.
Whether in Kaaba, mosque, or in prayers devout,
Each person bears their own ailment’s bout.
Who is who, which signs show true,
But the answer, no one has a clue.
Tomorrow will reveal those who from faith withdrew.
Yunus, rejuvenate thy soul, hold friends in your heart’s cove,
Recognize this strength, Hear the whispers of love.
From truth springs this drink, and lo,
We consume it, shout Allah-u-Akbar.
Upon might’s vast ocean, we row,
In strength, proclaim Allah-u-Akbar.
Beyond the hills and forests of oak,
Past vineyards and gardens we awoke,
Our journey blessed with health in each spoke,
All hail, cry Allah-u-Akbar.
From aridity, we’ve turned wet,
Wings sprouted, as birds our form met,
In marriage, we dived, our love set,
To the skies, chant Allah-u-Akbar.
Onto new lands we’ve come to know,
In all hearts, our essence we stow,
Planting meanings Tabuk did show,
In our path, stands Allah-u-Akbar.
Come, let’s kindle peace so dear,
Be not strangers, but draw near,
Trained and rode the horse without fear,
In triumph, sound Allah-u-Akbar.
Like a river, we shaped the plain,
Traveled the sea, in joy, not in vain,
Then in abundance, like the rain,
Submerged, sings Allah-u-Akbar.
As servants at Tabituk’s door,
Yunus the poor, raw no more,
Is finally cooked to the core,
In completion, praise Allah-u-Akbar.