My Mother (1967)
by Bakhtiyar Vahabzade (born 1925)

She is illiterate.
She cannot write her name-my mother.

But she taught me how to count.
She taught me the names
of the months and years,
And most importantly,
She taught me language-my mother.

I tasted joy
And unhappiness
With this language.
And I created every poem
Of mine
And every melody
With this language.

Without it
I am nobody;
I am a lie.
The creator of my work,
In all its volumes and volumes,
Is my mother!

From "Bakhtiyar Vahabzade. Poems, Short Stories and a Play", edited by Hadi Sultan-Qurraie, and translated by Talat Sait Halman. Indiana University Turkish Studies Publications: Bloomington, Indiana, 1998.

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