Be Silent 

  Be silent, don’t speak. 
It is a shame, stop your voice 
Be silent already. 
And if speech is made of silver 
Silence is made of gold. 
The first words I heard as a child 
when I cried, laughed, played were 
“be silent!”
At school they told me half truths; they told me:“what do you care? Be silent” 
When a girl first kissed me, they told me “Shhh be silent; don’t say a word” 
Stop your voice; and don’t speak; be silent. 
This went on until I became 20 years old. 
The words of the grown up; the silence of the child. 
I saw blood in the streets 
“what do you care” they told me “you gonna get in trouble, be silent” 
Later on my bosses got angry 
“don’t get involved; keep your nose clean; be silent” 
I got married, had children; I taught them to be silent 
My wife was loyal and industrious and knew how to be silent. 
She had a prudent mother who told her:“be silent” 
During leap years my parents, my neighbors advised me 
“be silent; don’t get involved; pretend you did not see anything; be silent” 
We might have not had an envied relationship with our neighbors 
But we were connected to them by 
“be silent” 
“Be silent” this person said and that one. 
Those high up:“be silent” 
Those below:“be silent.” 
“Be silent” said our neighborhood 
“Be silent” our city. 
We swallowed our tongue. 
We have a mouth but no voice 
We even formed an association: 
“The silent ones” 
And there were many of us: a whole country, a big power 
But mute 
We were successful; we reached high goals; we received medals and rewards 
Only with “be silent” 
This “be silent” a great art. 
Teach it to your children, your wife, your mother in law 
And when you feel the need to speak 
Deracinate your tongue 
Make it stop. 
Cut it off completely 
Throw it to the dogs 
It is an unnecessary tool when you don’t use it correctly. 
You will sleep well at night this way; no nightmares; no doubts; no guilt 
You will not feel ashamed in front of your kids 
You will save yourself from having to speak 
To say “you are right; I am like you; one of you” 
But ahhh! 
How 
-Wretched me- 
How I wish I could speak 
But you will not 
You will become a salivating verbalist 
Cut off your tongue 
Cut it off now 
Become a mute 
Since you are not gonna speak; you should dare that much. 
Cut off your tongue. 
This way you will be consistent with my plans 
With my dreams 
I retain my tongue amidst tears and cries 
Because I fear that there will come a moment 
Where I won’t be able to take it anymore 
I will burst out 
I won’t be afraid 
I will hope 
And every minute 
I will fill my throat 
With one syllable 
One whisper 
One stutter 
One howl 
Which will tell me: 
                                                          SPEAK!

AZIZ NESIN