The Swordfish (Kılıçbalığı)Ece Temelkuran

What it means to be Wise 

How could you know what happened to me out there in the sea?

A swordfish appeared suddenly. Before I knew it.

A swordfish had split me in two. Slit me

With its sword straight down my left side.


Plunged that sharpest of blades in my back ripped out a bone with its teeth

Tossed it in a tangle of seaweed.

Into the cavity left there. Slipped a bit of silver

It had hid its mouth


The wound is in my midriff

It will never heal

The sea’s keenest Edge, the sword

Will leave its mark in my spine

Tine’s bitter salt…

The swordfish stain in my waist.


Nothing is as it was

Now that silver has entered my spine

For in the silver wisdom is hidden

Like the argentine wisdom every wound holds


Before leaving of course

The swordfish told me the secret of its silver


In you I have grafted silver’s wisdom

Now there’s white Meta within your bones

Into your Flesh humanity secrets

The stored-up testimony of its whole history.

You will understand all things

You will hear those who speak and those who don’t.


You are now poor and as wise as silver.

From now on, you hold a grief inside you

Much more that your face will ever show


I could have inserted bronze in you instead.

So nothing could make you bend or bow down.

But then you wouldn’t understand those who did.



I had gold in my mouth too

I could have stuck that gram of gold in your body.

Today’s world would have deemed you worthy but you wouldn’t have known worthlessness

The applause of the present would’ve swept you away.


You might not have scorned diamond either.

But then you would have scratched each thing you touched

You wouldn’t have known how it feels to be cut that aching


There might now be iron in your backbone.

You could have been given greater strength but held up your iron frame.

You wouldn’t be able to speak of the oppressed.


What if I had mixed some steel in your spine’s fusion?

With steel’s history of conquest and spoliation you could’ve been even more captivating.

But then you couldn’t have said a thing about the history of those held captive.


With in you I have placed the most abject and also the darling of all metals.

With it you have a chance to become nobody.

For Silver finally silver tarnishes down to nothing. Even when it shines the most brightly it knows what it means to be the earth and dust.


Only nothing can speak in everything’s tongue.

Only no one can speak form everyone’s heart.


Silver-spined one! It’s to speak that you’ve come.

Other than what you are here to say,

Your flesh, your hands, your knick-knack collection. Everything you do is only a strut

For you do have things to say.


So much that- no matter how grievous it might seem- you’re no more than what you’ve got to say.


Silver -spined one!

Into this world you have come and from it you will go strangely!



“I want to go see where the stream ends. You know, Mother, I’ve been wondering where the end of the stream is … I haven’t been able to think about anything else. I didn’t sleep a wink all night… I want to know what’s happening in other places…I want to know if life is simply for circling around in a small place until you become old and nothing else, or is there another way to live in the world ?” by Samed Behrengi, Little Black Fish

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