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A Journey through Poetic Kurdistan

Sherko Bekes; The secret diary of a rose

Art is the view of life mirrored in the mind of an artist. Every artist tries to show us his own world in the light of his philosophy of life. There is a mysterious language between the human soul and the soul of nature. In the context of this language every one of us receives a barrage of concealed signals from nature, but it is only the elite of human beings, namely the poets, who possess the marvelous ability to pick up these rays, turn them into words or a composition of pictures. Tinged with elements of their personalities they reflect them in a magnificent style, which impinges on our sense of beauty, so that these emotional experiences become our property once we read them.

We can prolong our short lives on this earth and multiply our experiences by adding the unique worlds of others to ours whenever we wander with a poet through the world of his fantasies. A poet can open windows to the spring of life for us so that we can flee the chains of the present moment to those special moments of eternity, moments full of inspiration, which may even be beyond our imagination.

Sometimes we experience the same moments as the poets, but we are not talented enough to reflect them in the form of living words, which can stir up reactions in others the way they touched us. But poets can convey to the reader an aura of familiarity with the content of their works as if they had had the same experiences.

The language we use in our everyday life, or even the languages registered in our large dictionaries, is often not nearly adequate to picture a pulsatile emotion in the form of a poem, which then is for the readers to understand, enjoy and feel its originality.

We are constantly challenged by the languages we use. Sometimes we do not take these challenges seriously, with the consequence that in some languages we lack many words to describe beautiful events occurring in our surrounding or deep inside US. It is already this passive attitude (in addition to the differences regarding the character of each language), which makes the translation of poems one of the most difficult tasks which d writer can ever engage in and fulfill.

A poet is like the, monitor of radar drawing the vibrations it has just received. Poets treat sensitive areas of our lives whenever a certain event triggers a burst of innate feelings in them. And these feelings are so difficult to trace in another language.

  • What do you call that tiny, barely visible, vibration of the leaves of a tree in the air? I mean "shna" in Kurdish.
  • What do you call the very first beams of light at dawn? I mean "gizíng" in Kurdish.
  • What do you call that special place where two lovers meet? I don't mean a general meeting place (rendezvous) but that special one only for two lovers, namely "Jhwan" in Kurdish, pronounced with a delicate French "j".
  • What do you call the moonlight in a single word without mentioning the word "moon"? I mean "tirífe" in Kurdish, while "mang" is the moon itself.
  • In Kurdish there is "chiro" which are the buds especially for flowers and there is "qopka" which are the sprouts of leaves and twings.
  • In Kurdish "chríke" and 'Jríwe" are warbling and chirruping of sparrows and other birds. The same two words are also used to describe the twinkling of stars.

In our short journey with Shérko Békes we will realize how t`6rId the Kurdish people are 01' 11atUrC, and that it is a mutual love between the two. One may try to explain this affection through the protection the Kurds have always enjoyed in the lap of their lovely mountains. We should also note the paramount ability of this language to survive even without a decent dictionary. But it is not mere survival, because the Kurdish language is characterized by purity, richness and preservation of its own identity.

If every Kurd regards Goran as the poet of love and beauty, we can call Shérko Békes the poet of the philosophy of love and beauty in Kurdish literature. Shérko Békes does not describe nature in its purity and beauty in a plain way, but rather uses it as a tool or a frame to model a philosophical idea, to inspire meaning, or to exhibit a painting, which portrays a living event.

The most beautiful aspect of nature is its liveliness, and the highest grade of life is the ability to speak. That is why in this art gallery nature no longer presented as a set of inanimate and mute objects, but as pulsating with life.

The philosophy of love and beauty in Békes' poetry has such a wide horizon that the language barriers start to crumble as soon as he tries to find an outlet for the stream of his thoughts and allows them to flow without any turbulent effect by these barriers. But because he loves his Kurdish language he comes back and apologizes for his rebellion in one of his poems.

Look at that painting which displays two cheeky stars exchanging bunches of twittering by smiling at each other. One of them misses its target and a bunch of twitters falls onto the bed of our poet who was at that moment watching them from his hiding place in the dark. The warmth of the twittering brings one of his poems to life by allowing it to "hatch". The word "hatching" here mediates a very gorgeous and vivid scene of the birth of a poem, full of movement and fantasy, which you can feel when you read that cute little "baby poem".

One may come to the conclusion that shadows of pain and sadness pervade some of his poems. Often birds are killed. The earth is in labour pains giving birth to grains of barley and wheat. Flowers in coffins are carried to the graveyard. Poppies bend down In humiliation to thorns. The poet keeps watch at the wounds over his poems.

All these are shadows of pain and sorrow in the poems of Shérko Békes. They are not hopelessness or desperation parse, but rather reflections of the present reality of the Kurdish people and their national tragedy. They are the pains Of Kurdish mothers; the teat's of children and the divulgence of secret longings for the homeland from their place of exile.

A poet from the orient says, "sadness and pain have always been the womb in which masterpieces of' literature, art and music matured. Sadness is my teacher, but I am the teacher of happiness."


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