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Nesimi (15th c.) Little is know of the early life of Seyid Imadeddin Nesimi, one of the greatest Turkish mystical poets of the late 14th and early 15th centuries.

The poetry presented here has been translated and interpreted by Latif Bolat and Jennifer Ferraro. (more...)

Turkish version

English version

What of It

I myself took up the cloak of blame;
I smashed the bottle of honour and virtue on a stone.
        What of it?

Sometimes I rise up and watch the universe from above,
sometimes I go down to earth and lose myself in love.
        What of it?

Sometimes I study life’s meaning in the holy books,
sometimes I go to the tavern and get drunk.
        What of it?

Sometimes I enter my garden to pick roses for my darling;
I grew those roses and I gathered them.
        What of it?

The wine of this love is a sin, the orthodox think--
The sin is mine, I fill my glass and drink.
        What of it?

The pious bow to the niche in the mosque;
I bow at the Beloved’s doorstep, pressing my face up close.
        What of it?

My enemy says loving beauty is sinful.
I love my beloved so I’ll gladly pay that price.
        What of it?

They ask Nesimi,
are you and your beloved getting along?
Whether we get along or not, my Beloved is mine.
        What of it?

translated by Latif Bolat and Jennifer Ferraro


Latif Bolat
. One of the most distinguished Turkish musicians in the United States, Latif Bolat gives numerous concerts, lectures, and workshops throughout the world. Playing the spiritual folk music of Turkey on a traditional instrument called a baglama (saz), he performs solo and with his Ensemble at many universities, museums, cultural and spiritual centers each year. For ten years he worked with the Mevlevi Sufi Order in America providing music for their sacred sema ceremonies. His professional credits include providing soundtrack music for George Lucas Studio's TV series Young Indiana Jones and the PBS documentary Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet. He has four CDs to date, and leads popular cultural tours to Turkey several times a year. For more information visit his web site at www.latifbolat.com.

Jennifer Ferraro. A poet, artist and performer, Jennifer Ferraro teaches poetry and writing at universities and in workshop settings. Author of the book of poems “Divine Nostalgia,” her second book “Quarreling with God: Mystic Rebel Poems of the Dervishes of Turkey” is forthcoming (Fall 2006) and is a compilation of the folk mystic poetry of Turkey, translated with Latif Bolat. She has toured widely with the Latif Bolat Ensemble since 2002, playing frame drum and reciting poetry with devotional dance. Her poems have been choreographed and arranged with music in New Mexico. She is a student of the Sufi path in the lineage of Hazrat Inayat Khan.