Turkish Song About Walking: Gidiyorum Gunduz Gece

When we walk like we are rushing, we print anxiety and sorrow on the earth. We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the earth... Be aware of the contact between your feet and the earth. Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet. ~Thich Nhat Hanh~

Click below to listen (you can also download here):

This Sunday, we had the blessing to host another musical gathering by our wandering minstrel Vivek Virani at The Urban Ashram. He opened with a beautiful question that really put us all in a deeply contemplative state.

"From the moment we enter this world, we begin our journey. One day after another, we walk closer to our destination. And yet, so rarely do we stop and think: where is it that we're going? How can we stay on course to our true destination? And how can we make the journey itself blissful and fulfilling each step of the way?"

As the evening progressed, he took us on a musical journey across the cultural art-scapes from all over the world with songs from India, Turkey, Ireland and many more. One song that went straight to the heart was by a poet named Asik Veysel.

The blind poet Aşik Veysel (1894-1973) belonged to a small village, where he was trained in the Aşik (wandering minstrel) style of poetry and performance, and the Alevi branch of Sufi mysticism. Veysel’s words resonate in part because his pithy verses describe experiences that all humanity can relate to. He delivered these verses in haunting tunes that linger in every listener’s mind and heart, compelling them to reflect on the message.

"We are all, every one of us, on a journey. From the moment we enter the world, we are in an inn, a guesthouse, with only two doors. And so we walk, though we know not where, though we know not why. What can be said of this conundrum that is the plight of all human beings? Is this inspiring – or simply absurd? And so Aşik Veysel looks at the road before him and he laughs, and also cries. And then, like all of us, he continues to walk."

This performance of Aşik Veysel’s most beloved poem is a collaboration by musicians all over Anatolia. It beautifully represents the cultural, ethnic, and artistic diversity one finds in Turkey. It also reveals the simple, but profound, universality of Veysel’s poetry. We hope you enjoy this song, and it gives you a chance to rest for a moment and reflect upon your own journey.

Lyrics and Translation (by Nermin Menemencioğlu)

Uzun ince bir yoldayım
Gidiyorum gündüz gece
Bilmiyorum ne haldeyim
Gidiyorum gündüz gece

I'm on a long and narrow road,
I walk all day, I walk all night,
I cannot tell what is my plight,
I walk all day, I walk all night

Dünyaya geldiğim anda
Yürüdüm aynı zamanda
İki kapılı bir handa
Gidiyorum gündüz gece

Soon as I came into the World,
That moment I began my fight,
Through an inn with two doors,
I walk all day, I walk all night.

Uykuda dahi yürüyom
Kalmaya sebep arıyom
Gidenleri hep görüyom
Gidiyorum gündüz gece

I walk in sleep - I find no cause,
To linger, whether dark or light,
I see the travelers on the road,
I walk all day, I walk all night.

Kırk dokuz yıl bu yollarda
Ovada dağda çöllerde
Düşmüşem gurbet ellerde
Gidiyorum gündüz gece

Forty-nine years upon these roads,
On desert plain, on mountain height,
In foreign lands I make my way,
I walk all day, I walk all night.

Düşünülürse derince
Irak görünür görünce
Yol bir dakka miktarınca
Gidiyorum gündüz gece

Sometimes it seems an endless road,
The goal is very far from sight,
One minute, and the journey's o'er-
I walk all day, I walk all night.

Şaşar Veysel işbu hale
Gah ağlayan gahi güle
Yetişmek için menzile
Gidiyorum gündüz gece

Veysel does wonder at this state,
Lament or laughter, which is right?
Still to attain that distant goal,
I walk all day, I walk all night.


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