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Nese Yasin


Neşe Yaşın  was born in 1959 in Cyprus. She is a poet well known and read on both sides of divided Cyprus. She studied Sociology at Middle East Technical University in Ankara.

She directed and presented a literary program called “41st Room” at CYBC  radio (1992-2007) and the program Peace Garden (2001-2003) at radio ASTRA.

She is currently teaching  language and literature at the Turkish Studies department of University of Cyprus, writing weekly columns for  BirGün newspaper (Turkey) and Yenidüzen newspaper (Cyprus).

 She has published six volumes of poetry ‘Hyacinth and Narcissus’ (1979), ‚Tears of Wars’  (1980), Doors’ (1992),  ‚The Moon is Made of Love’ (2000),  Chambers of Memory’ (2005 ) Selected poems (2008)  and one novel ‚Secret History of Sad Girls’ (2002). Her poetry has been translated to 20 languages, published in literary magazines and anthologies. She has participated in poetry festivals and readings around the world. Among others she has received the Anthias Pierides Award in 1998.




Once there were knocks on doors

and women used to open them

life used to pass by

dusted and polished each day


Those who

longed for a great love

so as to watch their own beauty

through the centuries

to be frozen like a painting was their desire


From little girls

they grew up like docile saplings

and wearing glittering wedding rings on their fingers

entered prisons

like white doves


Some took to the streets

not even becoming mothers

some became falling stars and disappeared

some hang themselves on a rosebush

waiting for life without a question


The window sparkled

the washing ironed

but never a knock on the door

the man who would love madly

never arrived


The world was a horse carriage

and women pulled it at top speed

how could they not understand

that  a woman was the strongest

and the word freedom

was like a new year's eve party in the sky

they should never find the right dress

they could never go


They were just surprised

at the men's soldier-dress

and for the midnight watches

they knitted sweaters

to be worn secretly under uniforms


Life knitted by pain with fine needles

wounded by bullet holes

their dowries trampled upon without pity

every time man massacred man

they lost those most cherished husbands and sons

Tears and loneliness burnt in candles

incense burners smoked

in cold widow rooms


Their photographs were on the walls

the sons, husbands and in the hands of guns

the thick eye brows, hard looks, thick moustaches

ruled their homes


Interfering with everything from where they were

from the door knocker to the food in the pan

their shouts still ringing all around

while children like kittens hid behind their mothers' skirts


They prayed and prayed

and carried myrtle branches

to the graves on every festive day

longing was lived with imperceptible pain

silently descending

from the heart to the groin


Once there were knocks on the doors

and women used to open them

life used to pass by

dusted and polished each day.








No permission to cross

in reality it is the traces of hope which disappear

days spent in longing have turned to grief

Don’t wait for me

in the other cell of sorrow


No access to love

(Our Army is our greatest security)

I kept looking at the stars tonight

hoping you were looking too


Your message for a meeting has reached me

in a different country

at a different time


But I can’t wait

the yellow snake called time

keeps writhing inside me


I have fallen into unpostponable longings

I must see you today


I will tell everyone I am in love with you

even the policeman at the check-point

I will tell everyone your forbidden name


I will then walk through

dressed like a cat


Wait for me

take me in your arms

I will say “miow” to you in Turkish.

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