Bejan Matur is a Kurdish author born in Kahramanmaraş of Turkish Kurdistan, writing mainly about Kurdish politics, the Armenian issue, daily politics, minority problems, prison literature, and women issues.
Matur currently runs a cultural foundation called Diyarbakir Cultural Art Foundation which is placed in Diyarbakir. She also conducts social projects with children, women and the youths who were displaced from their villages.
The 47 year-old poet studied Law at Ankara University, but she never practiced it. In her university years, reviewers found her poetry dark and mystic.
Among her 9 books, her last one: “Leaving of Abraham”, published in 2008, is considered by critics as her best book ever. There she created a personal ontology and a personal mythology inspired by Sufi tradition.
In May 2009, she published an album-book called: “The Gate of East: Diyarbakir”. This book was considered to be one of the best books ever written about an Anatolian city.
She also engaged with the PKK to write a book called: “Looking Behind the Mountain” which was published in February 2011. Matur went to the steep Qandeel Mountains, where PKK units are located. She did so in order to conduct interviews with the guerrillas fighting the Turkish Army. The book is the first attempt to display the personal stories and traumas of the Kurdish fighters engaged in that war.
We have chosen one of Matur poets for our readers both in Turkish and English:
In the cold decayed
heart of these lands
I saw eyes.
Everyone was there with their voice
and their body’s pose.
We know someone best while making love,
when we corrode our hearts together.
Growing heavy, our body
wakes us in the night.
Houses with courtyards are like graves.
Childhood is a sleep, long-lasting.
And a yearning to touch,
a yearning drags us towards death.
I tested myself in every body,
I abandoned myself in every city.
I took the skies of countries to my heart
and when I saw the emptiness of my heart,
I said, it’s time to go.
Inside the moldering robes of ceremony
roots sway on the hanger.
Even if we drop fire in the sea
it will burn for ever,
it burns, a gift of desolation to the dark.
Perhaps history is a mistake says the poet
mankind’s a mistake says god.
in a future corrupt as the heart of these lands,
mankind’s a mistake says god,
I’m here to correct it
but too late.
The wave of red lifeless water,
the road followed at night,
the poor earth strewn with travelers,
the white swaying shrouds,
The only thing needed for a race
is the horse’s mane.
This is the truth,
now we are here
rotted away in a rut.
God must not see the letters of my script.
Mankind’s a mistake, he keeps saying.
And to correct his mistake
he gives sorrow,
February 1997 Berlin
This poem was translated by Ruth Christie from the original poem in Turkish:
Çürümüş donuk kalbinde bu toprakların
Herkes sesiyle vardı
Ve duruşuyla gövdesinin.
Bir insanı en iyi sevişirken tanırız.
Kalbimizi birlikte çürütürken.
Mezar gibidir avlulu evler.
Çocukluk bir uykudur. Uzun sürer.
Ve dokunmak için bir arzu
Bir arzu sürükler bizi ölüme.
Ben kendimi sınadım her gövdede
Ben kendimi bıraktım her şehirde
İçime aldım göğünü ülkelerin
Ve boşluğunu görünce kalbimin
Çürümüş tören giysileri içinde
Askıda salınan kökler.
Biz denize düşürsek de ateşi
O hep yanar.
Issızlık bahşeder karanlığa. Yanar.
Tarih bir yanılgı olabilir diyor şair
İnsan bir yanılgıdır diyor tanrı.
Bu toprakların kalbi kadar
Çürümüş bir sonrada
İnsan bir yanılgıdır diyor tanrı.
Ve düzeltmek için varım
Ölü kızıl suyun dalgası
Gece yürünen yol
Ve yolcuların dağıldığı zavallı yeryüzü
Salınan beyaz kefenler
Ve bir koşu için gerekli tek şey
Şimdi ve burada
Tanrı görmesin harflerimi
İnsan bir hata diyor durmadan
Ve hatasını düzeltmek için
Şubat 1997, Berlin