The Art of Marxism: poetry

A Spring Piece Left in the Middle

by Nāzım Hikmet Ran

Taut, thick fingers punch

the teeth of my typewriter.

Three words are down on paper

    in capitals:




And me - poet, proofreader,

the man who's forced to read

two thousand bad lines

every day

for two liras-


since spring

  has come, am I

  still sitting here

    like a ragged

    black chair?

My head puts on its cap by itself,

I fly out of the printer's,

  I'm on the street.

The lead dirt of the composing room

    on my face,

seventy-five cents in my pocket.


In the barbershops

they're powdering

  the sallow cheeks

  of the pariah of Publishers Row.

And in the store windows

three-color bookcovers

  flash like sunstruck mirrors.

But me,

I don't have even a book of ABC's

that lives on this street

and carries my name on its door!

But what the hell...

I don't look back,

the lead dirt of the composing room

    on my face,

seventy-five cents in my pocket,



The piece got left in the middle.

It rained and swamped the lines.

But oh! what I would have written...

The starving writer sitting on his three-thousand-page

      three-volume manuscript

wouldn't stare at the window of the kebab joint

but with his shining eyes would take

the Armenian bookseller's dark plump daughter by storm...

The sea would start smelling sweet.

Spring would rear up

  like a sweating red mare

and, leaping onto its bare back,

    I'd ride it

into the water.


my typewriter would follow me

  every step of the way.

I'd say:

  "Oh, don't do it!

  Leave me alone for an hour..."


my head-my hair failing out-

  would shout into the distance:

  "I AM IN LOVE..."


I'm twenty-seven,

she's seventeen.

"Blind Cupid,

lame Cupid,

both blind and lame Cupid

said, Love this girl,"

    I was going to write;

      I couldn't say it

      but still can!

But if

it rained,

if the lines I wrote got swamped,

if I have twenty-five cents left in my pocket,

        what the hell...

Hey, spring is here spring is here spring

        spring is here!

My blood is budding inside me!

      20 and 21 April 1929