The Art of Marxism: poetry

Last Will and Testament

by Nāzım Hikmet Ran

Comrades, if I don't live to see the day

- I mean,if I die before freedom comes -

take me away

and bury me in a village cemetery in Anatolia.

The worker Osman whom Hassan Bey ordered shot

can lie on one side of me, and on the other side

the martyr Aysha, who gave birth in the rye

and died inside of forty days.

Tractors and songs can pass below the cemetery -

in the dawn light, new people, the smell of burnt gasoline,

fields held in common, water in canals,

no drought or fear of the police.

Of course, we won't hear those songs:

the dead lie stretched out underground

and rot like black branches,

deaf, dumb, and blind under the earth.

But, I sang those songs

before they were written,

I smelled the burnt gasoline

before the blueprints for the tractors were drawn.

As for my neighbors,

the worker Osman and the martyr Aysha,

they felt the great longing while alive,

maybe without even knowing it.

Comrades, if I die before that day, I mean

- and it's looking more and more likely -

bury me in a village cemetery in Anatolia,

and if there's one handy,

  a plane tree could stand at my head,

  I wouldn't need a stone or anything.

      27 April 1953

          Moscow, Barviha Hospital