I WENT ON THE TRAIN BUT…

I WENT ON THE TRAIN BUT…

IF AUTUMN AMONG THE SORROWS, TRAIN AMONG THE FRIENDS; WHAT ELSE MIGHT BE WAITING FOR US ON THE ROAD, AT THE END OF THE ROAD, AT THE STATIONS? WHAT ELSE BUT POETRY?

I do not know in which age the humanity is. I think that we would be given different answers if we were to ask this question to people from different cultures in different parts of the world. It is definite that we are not in a good age. We are experiencing the days that the Chinese people used to curse as “you shall live in interesting days!”

Whatever, maybe it is not the time for this, because it is autumn now. In other words, we are in the age of feelings. Right now, it is the time to make a sentence like the ones that contain happy clichés such as “Smile you are in Eskişehir!” “Grieve you are in autumn.” Autumn is a season, grief and sorrow of which are otherworldly. After all, who isn’t an otherworldly season? The colors of this season are yellow, brown, and red, so as the train’s. Autumn among the sorrows; train among the friends, and what else might be waiting for us on the road, at the end of the road, at the stations? What else but poetry?

The title of the article comes from a ballad I like: “I went on the train but the train rocked.” It is a ballad in which a man tells his trouble about his illness in his lungs on a train trip between Ankara-Keskin. I do not know whether this article would reduce the grief of fall or makes it thicker but I wish to take a trip to lines written for trains.

Our first lines are from Pablo Neruda, among the world’s and Chile’s greatest poets; moreover, he adds something that has not yet taken place in this article, something that would start falling if we keep saying autumn a few more times: “Is there anything in the world sadder/ Than a train standing in the rain?” The master of grief and rain, “the master of the art of grieving” poet Atilla İlhan sips grief on the Kurtalan Express: “As if he saw the Kurtalan Train in his dream/ In a grieving rain, all of its windows are foggy/ All of its passengers share the same peril glancing each other.”

If it is autumn among the sorrows and train among the friends then it is the right time and place to send greetings to a poet who sends greetings to Osip Mandelstam: “Written the book of farewells /and the expertise of exiles, I have. / Learned how a ferry leaves the port, /how a train whistles sadly, I have.” Cevat Çapan greets the sad train with his lines. The lines by Şükrü Erbaş have the color of September trains meet with the sad yellow of the old small stations: “Death? /A train that is loaded with all my break ups/ shall pick me up from a yellow station. /Hey dreamy towns /Let’s call it even this way /I underestimated your fate as I was alive.”

Whether it is on time or not, Metin Altıok writes the train as if a convoy of grief has begun a trip: “My train should be late, my heart is troubled /Those I love are going away one by one. /Whenever I go to a friend’s /They are not home.” From ‘they are not home’ to ‘they are not here’: one of the poets that we lost early, Hüseyin Avni Cinazoğlu wrote his sorrow in advance: “Maybe a train comes to this city some evening /Maybe it takes the grief from my heart and goes away.”

You are going to say that I have filled the article with lines. You are right; that is what I did. As I told you, if it is autumn and even mentioning the name of autumn awakens sadness… Poets wrote trains, autumn, and grief in line with their nature. I just wanted not to make it much gloomier and settle with this. Who knows maybe autumn and grief will go away faster this time!

My dear friend Behçet Aysan, who was killed 25 years ago, was a man whose poets were read widely. Whatever he wrote became sorrow: “like my heart /loaded with pain /a train /passes by nonstop.” Kemal Varol did talk about his father who was a railway worker in his train articles; his father was also in his poems: “in the small hours, defeated trains’ arrival /to the yellow stations, how my father was like.”

I wrote “There is no sadness in the poem /how sad.” Not always a train passes through poetry; however, there is always poetry in train. Moreover, there is poetry for this purpose a little. I think it is what these lines tell: “Again came the load of grief’s train /trains are wooden because of cranes.”

There are winds called bird pass, crane pass… Let this article be the fate pass in the autumn.