Barış Pirhasan

Barış Pirhasan (1951)

Pirhasan graduated from the Department of  English Language and Literature at Bogazici University.

His poetry collections are Tarih Kotudur (History Is Evil / 1981) and Imzasız El Yazıları (Anonymous Manuscripts / 1985)

Being granted a scholarship from the British Council, Pirhasan studied Film and TV Directing at the National Film and Television School in England between 1989-1992.He holds  national and international awards with his films and screenplays.

Pirhasan is one of the most remarkable translators with his translations of Karl Marx, Lewis Carroll, Constantine Cavafy, Walter Scott, e.e. cummings, Leonard Cohen.

To view a translation of Pirhasan’s poem  “Martılar” [Seagulls] by Jean Carpenter-Efe, click here.

Below is a translation of his poem “Aşkla Kedi Arasındaki Yedi Benzerlik” (Seven Similarities Between Love and a Cat) translated by Başak Ergil to be published in the literary translation magazine Çevirmenin Notu in 2009.


Love is an untamed beast

It nests upon broken hearts,

hunts with kisses and candles


That untamed beast called love,

with a lust for human company,

long expelled from the jungle,

flaunts the dark delicacy of its fur

that calls for a stroke,

a stroke of the past,

the past and beyond…

The time of a fairy tale… of Goblins and Sultans…

All else is doomed to fade.

All that has culminated in your soul.

The wits and the wisdom.

All else but the bee

Buzzing past the open window to make you ignore

What you’ve just gained or what you have lost.

That untamed beast called love

Has a Cheshire grin and eyes shut tight,

And cushioned pads within its paws

Piercing your sleep constantly with five sharp bones.

Now you are in the jungle

Right by the edge of the cliff,

What glitters deep in the flow

Is not pure water.

It is the burning phosphorus within your abyss-bound fall,

yells and screams.


It was just a nightmare.

And no more.

That untamed beast called love is a runaway

Lord, what have I done to offend it…

How come have I left the door open…

Is there a photo… Is it tramping on a wall…

What if it’s run over…

“Is it spayed? If it’s back, do it…”

Not indoors though…. Off to the jungle…

Will it be back…

One night that untamed beast called love,

what music was on, how could it have heard,

turns up purring on and on at your door

its fur tangled and matted…

so hungry… so cold…

just like you… yearning… hug me… ohh, my joyyy…

As for the sound and fury of the city,

Let it remain forever beyond our walls…

That untamed beast called love is asleep

It has slept for days and nights on end

“Nothing serious” insists the vet with a smile

“These guys are also at times depressed…

Might as well be the side effect of the surgery

You did it for its own good

It’ll all be gone…” But it won’t!

A ten-drop dose into its water… its toys…

That untamed beast called love

how it gave birth when all was about to end

Deep scratches on the walls, a woollen jumper

Ripped and torn

“What happened to your face?” Alcohol… it does no good…

Chemicals… morning exercises… sleep…

Now I realize

the meaningless chaos we’re in,

the jungle that we take refuge

and call our homes…

A silly sun is left on,

dooming you to sleeplessness,

When you get rid of that untamed beast called love,

it has taken the night away

Its hair on your pillow, in your mouth, down your throat

An empty water bowl… its favourite cushion…

Must be out hunting again… and again…

At dinner tables where kisses and candles burn.

You search in vain.

The vet has made the final remark:

“Alas! These guys live shorter, you know…”


2 Responses to Barış Pirhasan

  1. Stuart Kline dedi ki:

    Congrats on the translation Başak 🙂 My kitten Patı, which I picked up from Molly about three weeks ago, has just kicked her bite-sized ball under the sofa and wants me to retrieve it for her for the umpteenth time 🙂

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