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Things I Didn’t Know I Loved by Nazim Hikmet

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Last night I asked, out of the blue, then again, maybe not: Am I doing the right thing? S. told me with a sigh: It’s not about being right or wrong. Perhaps the question is, am I happy?

Are you happy, she asks me. I said, Eh. She tells me, The thing about you is you’re sure when making your decisions. And then you forget. And then you fret, then fall apart.

Today, in an exercise of existing: my hand in my dog’s fur, a full glass of water on a hot afternoon, statistics that measure performance on a page, a new chicken recipe for lunch, and giggling, just giggling. Full-bellied laughter is a joy, but that small sound which rumbles through my body and outs itself like a secret—that was a surprise.

Things I Didn’t Know I Loved
Nazim Hikmet

it’s 1962 March 28th
I’m sitting by the window on the Prague-Berlin train
night is falling
I never knew I liked
night descending like a tired bird on a smoky wet plain
I don’t like
comparing nightfall to a tired bird

I didn’t know I loved the earth
can someone who hasn’t worked the earth love it
I’ve never worked the earth
it must be my only Platonic love

and here I’ve loved rivers all this time
whether motionless like this they curl skirting the hills
European hills crowned with chateaus
or whether stretched out flat as far as the eye can see
I know you can’t wash in the same river even once
I know the river will bring new lights you’ll never see
I know we live slightly longer than a horse but not nearly as long as a crow


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