That Was You (1919)
by Abdulla Shaig (1881-1959 )

For so long, I dreamed of a statue of a beauty - a nymph.
For so long, I created a lovely image in my dreams,
I would choose colors from the flowers
For her cheeks and lips.
To tell you the truth, that nymph that I was envisioning
Was so close and native to my heart.
I painted her image in the bottom of my heart,
I loved her, and melted like a candle from my love to her.
From time to time when
She would reappear in my dreams,
A vibrant truth would tremble in front of me.
She would wave her hand made of light and say:
"Go and look for this truth, and you will find it."
Like wandering Majnun,* I roamed from place to place,
I revealed my quest to the stones, mountains and lands.
I attended many art exhibitions throughout the world,
But couldn't find that vibrant truth anywhere.
Every time I saw a beautiful girl,
It would remind me of that image in my dreams,
I would count the days and months,
Along with the stars at night,
Months, years passed, but no nymph was found
To embody the image of my dreams.
"Probably God hasn't created her yet," I said.
But, still, she would shine forth like the Sun in my heart.
Passionate love, bright hope and powerful faith
Would tell me: "Don't lose hope, go look for her!"
And I would look with zealous determination,
Oh, my angel, at that lucky moment finally
The truth shone like the Sun that I had been looking for:
"Hey you, creation of my heart!
That truth was you,
Hey, statue of beauty!"

* Majnun refers to a legend of love, based on a story similar to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, though preceding it by centuries. He pines away for Leyli, wandering in the desert and living a hermit-like existence. Neither his parents, nor hers, approve or permit their relationship.

Translated by Aytan Aliyeva and Aynura Huseinova

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