I used to consider myself as a train poet until I met with the Raillover Poet last year. I realized then, that writing train articles, writing a few poems about trains, dreaming about trains do not make you a train poet! I understood and I am saluting him as a train poet out of respect for masters; hello Güntürk Üstün.
The title of Güntürk Üstün’s book is Raysever Şair Merhabasının Dizeleri (Lines of a Raillover Poet’s Hello) (Zeus Kitabevi, İzmir, Mart 2017). He wrote those lines in 2016. Not only them. We see Demiryolu Palas Oteli’nden Şiirler (Poems from the Railway Palace Hotel), Raylı Sistemin Uzun Öyküsünün Kısa Şiirleri (Short Poems of the Long Story of the Rail System) on railways and trains as well as Limanı Gören Bir Çatı Katından Şiirler (Poems from a Penthouse Facing the Port), Denizyoluna Turkuaz Gölgeli Dizeler (Lines with Turquoise Shadows for the Sea Lines) on ferries and sea lines among his other published books of poetry. After I purchase those and read, I might share them with you.
Güntürk Üstün is a medical doctor. He began making poetry once again in 2016 after taking a long and disappointed break in 1985. Good thing he did restarted. His poems have been published by many magazines. He speaks English and French well. The themes of his poems are daily segments of life mostly on nature, travel, and human relations.
Written in triplets and long lines resembling prose poetry, the book where 236 of his poems take place begins with the following lines, “I am aware I won’t ever be able to stoop writing you poems railway brother/ Our meetings shall not decline/ And that would be enough for me.” It would be impossible not to agree with his wish.
Take a look at the passion in this poem he wrote as a praise for railroads! “Railway is my life blood, it always gives its iron-color blood to my poetry/ Railway is my best friend, it listens patiently to my genuine poems presented in its name/ Railway is my best companion; women and poems may leave me; it does not.” What can I say? He has poems on railway museums. The poet loves the museums located in the active terminals the most because the trains in them gave the impression of still being in service. He says, “Locomotives in the railway museums seem as if/ They would accept to move as fast as a tortoise even as a salamander/ Rather than remaining still against their nature.”
I have heard of train being called as an ‘iron horse’ before but this time it was in Güntürk Üstün’s lines: “The ‘Iron Horses’ of the trainland/ Love to connect the railway towns and provinces the most/ Although they do not make a certain distinction.” The use of the term ‘Iron Horses’ make us recall the 10th Anniversary March where railways, one of the gains of the Republic, are mentioned as “We have covered the motherland with iron networks.”
The poet remembered to mention the railroaders, who perform a special task in my opinion too, a profession which represents working with passion; he sees them off until the ‘station of retirement’: “How lucky for your dispatcher grandfather who is a railway lover/ Starting with a telegraph key finishing with a computer keyboard/ After all those rail years, reaching safe and sound to the station of retirement.”
There are things that sadden him, just the way it is with every poet. He mentions these things genuinely: “The rail-lover poet Güntürk Üstün feels as if / A cute railway poem is removed from an exclusive poem selection/ When he learns a train is removed from service.” Therefore, no train should be removed from service. Why? So, the poets won’t be sad!
It is not easy to leave this nice book aside but we arrived to the writing station, so let’s greet the railways, railroaders, and trains with the last poem from the rail-lover poet’s book: “Railway poetry stands/ Between where I am/ And where I want to be.” What can we say, I wish it does!