My Freedom
by Khalil Reza (1932-1994 )

(October 30, 1988)

Each man is an independent party,
Each man is an independent government.
I will never permit my freedom - my territory
To be occupied! Know this, merciless enemy!

I did not allow my spirit to be enslaved
For chances to travel, to be well off.
To waste my life on feast, wine and paradise.
I wasn't lured by mansions in paradise
Or by the presidium, full of idiots.
Nor was I lured by wealth,
By false medals, by useless garlands,
But only for the freedom of my heart!
I entered the battlefield with only this love.
Just the freedom of my heart!
Even in the iron-barred prison,
In the prison where bloody "Gulustan" and "Turkmanchay"* were signed.

Probably you can hold back the rivers.
But I am as free as the seas,
Give no mercy to those
Who surrender to the oppressor.

As thunder, as torrential rain and storms
I am as free as gales and cyclones.

I am Earth, circling with anger.
My freedom is my power,
My freedom is for exposing and ripping off
The masks of these inferior people.

My freedom is beckoning the cowards,
To come out of their caves:
See the vast sky above
And breathe the fresh air that they crave.

Could the ones who compete constantly in the milky lake,
Who are dark inside, but appear happy,
Who shrink with fear when subject to the slightest challenge
Who hold back the wheel of the vast train of history,
Who struggle for position at every possible chance,
Could these living slaves understand this happiness?
Understand the immeasurable power
That is housed in my heart, as big as my fist?

If they want, I'll give my child,
I'll give everything I have,
I'll give "the taste of my mouth", "the light of my eyes",
But I will never relinquish my unfettered Freedom!

My father, my brother is my Motherland.
I became absorbed into the air of my land,
My unbending head has bowed only
In the presence of a simple bird's nest.

My Freedom belongs only to that.
Even if I die, I will rise up again.
I wish I could be the Water of Life
For Azerbaijan, whose lips are thirsty.

* "Gulustan" and "Turkmanchay" are the place names where two treaties were signed between Czarist Russia and Iran in 1813 and 1828 after the Russo-Persian War. These treaties resulted in the separation of the territory of Azerbaijan into two parts - the southern part to be ruled by Iran and the northern part by Russia. Since late 1991, the northern part enjoys independence as the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Translated by Aynura Huseinova and Aytan Aliyeva

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