Friday, August 07, 2009

I COME AND STAND AT EVERY DOOR: On the 64th Anniversary of the Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Written by N.Hikmet

I come and stand at every door
But no one hears my silent prayer
I knock and yet remain unseen
For I am dead, for I am dead

I'm only seven although I died
In Hiroshima long ago
I'm seven now as I was then
When children die they do not grow

My hair was scorched by swirling flame
My eyes grew dim my eyes grew blind
Death came and turned my bones to dust
And that was scattered by the wind

I need no fruit I need no rice
I need no sweets nor even bread
I ask for nothing for myself
For I am dead, for I am dead

All that I ask for is for peace
You fight today, you fight today
So that the children of this world
May live and grow and laugh and play

Nâzım Hikmet, was a Turkish poet, playwright, novelist and memoirist. He was acclaimed for the "lyrical flow of his statements". Described as a "romantic communist" and "romantic revolutionary", he was repeatedly arrested for his political beliefs and spent much of his adult life in prison or in exile. His poetry has been translated into more than fifty languages
Hikmet's poem Kız Çocuğu (The Little Girl) conveys a plea for peace from a seven-year-old girl, ten years after she has perished in the atomic bomb attack at Hiroshima. It has achieved popularity as an anti-war message and has been performed as a song by a number of singers and musicians worldwide.
Zülfü Livaneli (on Nazım Türküsü) has performed a version of the original Turkish poem. A loose English translation of Kız Çocuğu known as I Come And Stand At Every Door has been performed by The Byrds (on the album Fifth Dimension), Pete Seeger (on the album Headlines & Footnotes), This Mortal Coil (on the album Blood), and The Fall on their 1997 album Levitate, albeit omitting the last verse and wrongly attributing writing credits to anon/J Nagle. 
Fazil Say included the poem in his "Nazım" oratorio". In 2005, famed Shima-Uta singer Chitose Hajime collaborated with Ryuichi Sakamoto by translating Kız Çocuğu into Japanese (retitled 'Shinda Onna no Ko' [死んだ女の子]). It was performed live at the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima on the eve of the 60th Anniversary (August the 5th, 2005).