International Committee for Crimea

HOME Crimean Tatar Literature SEARCH

Numan Celebicihan's Poems

Presented below are three of Numan Celebicihan's popular poems: Ant etkenmen (I've pledged), Savlikman Kal Tatarlik! (Farewell Tatarness!), and Bastirik (Prison). Ant etkenmen was translated by S.Ahmet Kirimca and published in The Tatars of Crimea; Return to the Homeland, Edward A. Allworth, Editor (p.74). Savlikman Kal Tatarlik and Bastirik have been translated by Mubeyyin Batu Altan, and are believed to be the first English translation and publication of these powerful poems.

Original, in Crimean Tatar:


Savlikman Kal Tatarlik, men ketem cenkke,
Aimin basi aylandi ahret betke.
Senin icun yasadim, sensiz olsem,
Bilmem nasil kirermen bos cennetke.

Avdarilgan altavlar, tamular taskan,
Bu islerge biz tuvul, melekler saskan.
Hirpalangan menlikler,xorlangan kizlar,
Balasin taslap anaylar collerge kackan.

Artima baksam ak omur, aldimda olum,
Kop uzamaz belliymen karangi yolum.
Karsambadan havetmey, kolgeden urkmey,
Son nefeste Tatar dep uzanir kolum.

Numan Çelebicihan, Akmescit (Simferopol), 1914/1915

English translation:


Farewell, Tatarness, I am heading towards the war,
My horse's head already turned towards the next world.
I've lived for you Tatarlik, and if I die without you,
How will I enter the Paradise that is empty so.

The mountains turned over and the rivers overflew,
Not only we, but even the angels are shocked at how things go.
The young were shaken and the maidens were battered,
Abandoning their children, the mothers fled to deserts.

A clean life {ak omur) behind me, front of me is death.
I doubt my dark path will last any longer.
Not fearing any danger, not being frightened of shadows,
Stretches out my arm, uttering the word Tatar at my last breath.

Original, in Crimean Tatar:


Ant etkemen milletimin yarasini sarmaga,
Nasil olsun bu zavalli kardaslarim curusun?
Onlar icin okunmesem, kaygirmasam, yasasam,
Yuregimde kara kanlar kaynamasin, kurusun!

Ant etkemen, su karanlik yurtka savle sepmege,
Nasil olsun eki kardas birbirini kormesin?
Bunu korup,busanmasam, mugaymasam,yanmasam,
Kozlerimden akan yaslar derya deniz kan olsun!

Ant etkemen, soz bergemen millet icin olmege,
Bilip,korup milletimin kozyasini silmege,
Bilmi,kormi, bin yasasam,kurultayli han bolsam,
Kene birgun mezarcilar kelir meni gommege!

Numan Çelebicihan

English translation:


I pledged to heal the wounds of Tatars,
Why should my unfortunate brothers rot away;
If I don't sing, don't grieve for them, if I live,
Let the dark streams of blood of my heart go dry!

I pledge to bring light to that darkened country,
How may two brothers not see one another?
When I see this, if I don't get distressed, hurt, seared,
Let the tears that flow from my eyes become a river, a sea of blood!

I pledge, give my word to die for (my nation)
Knowing, seeing, to wipe away the teardrops of my nation
If I live a thousand unknowing, unseeing years, If I become
a gathering's chief (Khan of a Kurultay),
Still one day the gravediggers will come to bury me!

Original, in Crimean Tatar:


Dort tas duvar, en topede bir kickene pencere,
Icke temir cabaklardan isik tuvul dert kire,
Her kosede dim golgeler, yesil kufler kopure,
Yatak tahta, yemek fena, yerden suvuk ufure.

Hizmetci de her kun bunu sulap, sulap supure,
Kimerde bir anayin da sovup sala koz kore,
Aksamlar bu kara evge kara perdeler kere,
Yalnizliklar yalniz canga canli tusler kostere.

Garip curek capalana, tenler, tukler urpere,
Tozmay gonul havalanip, alcala bombos yere,
Nobetciler gece gunduz, karap curup teskere,
Kapidaki avur kiltni her saat dort- bes kere.

Bu golgeli kardan suvuk kiltli kara mezarga,
Yamanlardan daha fazla yahsi insan kop kire,
Kirgenden son isler belli; tura tura ya cure,
Ya da haksiz azaplarga dayanilmay delire...

Numan Çelebicihan

English translation:


Four stone walls, and at top a tiny window,
Torment, rather than light enters here through iron bars.
Ugly shadows, and green mold froths everywhere,
A wooden bed, rotten food, and cold air blows here and there.

The caretaker sweeps the floors, pouring water over dirt,
Openly curses at one's mother, looking straight at one's face.
The evenings spread their dark curtains over this darkened place,
Loneliness brings live nightmares to one's lonely face.

The poor heart palpitates, one feels goosebumps everywhere,
First, one's spirit rises high, then drops right to the empty floor.
The guards check this place, walking and searching,
Checking on the heavy lock, four to five times an hour.

To this locked, colder than ice, grave like room,
Enters more good people than hard criminals.
It is fait accompli once you enter here; either you rot here,
Or you go insane, unable to endure the unjust torture there.

ICC Web site includes the following additional documents and articles on Numan «elebicihan:

ICC Home Page