Oyghan (Wake Up!)


I admit, it is difficult to translate poetry. However, the translation of Oyghan on this website was bothering me so I gave it a shot myself.

Here is the original poem:


Abduxaliq Uyghur (9/2/1901 – 13/3/1933)
Turpan, 1921

Hey, peqir Uyghur, oyghan, uyqung yeter,
Sende mal yoq, emdi ketse jan keter.
Bu olumdin ozengni qutqazmisang,
Ah, sening haling heter, haling heter.

Qop! Dedim, bexingni koter, uyqungni ach,
Reqibning bexini kes, qenini chach.
Kuz echip etrapqa obdan baqmisang,
Olsen armanda, bir kun yoq ilaj.

Helimu jansizgha ohxaydu tening,
Xunga yoqmu anche olumdin gheming.
Qichqirsam qimirlimayla yatisen,
Oyghanmay olmekchimu sen xu peting.

Kozungni yoghan echip etrapqa baq,
Oz istiqbaling heqqide oylan uzaq.
Ketse qoldin bu ghanimet, purset,
Kelichek ixing chataq, ixing chataq.

Echinar konglum sanga, hey Uyghurum,
Sebdixim, qerindixim, bir tuqqunum.
Koyunup halinggha oyghatsam seni,
Anglimaysen zadi, neme bolghunung.

Kelidu bir kun puxayman qilisen,
Tektige gepning xu chaghda yetisen.
“Hep” deseng xu chaghda olgurmey qalur,
Xunda, Uyghur, sozige tengberisen.’


Here is their translation:

Wake Up!

Hey, poor Uyghur, wake up, it is enough to sleep,
Now you have nothing, the only thing to lose is your life.
If you do not rescue yourself from death,
Ah, your condition will be fatal, will be fatal.

Stand up! I say you, raise your head, wake up of your dream.
Cut the head of your enemy, spill his blood!
If you do not open your eyes and look about,
You will die asleep one day, that is your only chance.

Already, your body looks like lacking a soul,
May be that is why you do not care much about death?
I am calling you, but you are lying motionless,
Do you want to die asleep?

Take a broad view of things, look about,
Think well about your future.
If this chance is lost,
Your future will be bad, will be bad.

I worry so much about you, hey, my Uyghur,
My trench mate, my brother, my relative.
I am worrying about you, I am waking you up,
But you do not listen to me at all, what is wrong with you?!

The day will come, you will be so sorry,
Then, you will understand the real meaning of my words.
You will say “Oh”, but it will be late.
Then, Uyghur, you will think about my calls.

Translated by Abdurahim Ayitbayev


Here is another translation I found published in “Some Kind of Beautiful Sign”

To Wake Up

Ay! Uyghurs, my people, wake up, you have slept enough,
Nothing left to lose but precious life.
If you want to save yourselves from extinction,
Ah! Wake up! Our life is threatened, the situation is worsening.

Stand, I say, raise your head, and wake up,
It is time to raze the enemy, I call, be brave, fight, shed blood.
If you do not open your eyes and look carefully around you,
You will die with regret. No choice but to wake up.

Is there no difference, even now, between you and the dead?
Is this why you are still unmoved, as death quickly approaches?
Please, act now, join the call, awake from your deep sleep.
Or would you rather die sleeping? To never wake?

Open your eyes, be strong and unwavering, face the real
In thinking of your fate and the future of the Uyghurs.
If our nation loses this rare and precious chance,
Uyghurs will suffer, our loves will be misery.

My heart is bleeding, ay, my fellow Uyghurs,
My friend, my brothers and sisters, my family.
With my injured heart, with love, I try to wake you,
What is happening? Why don’t you listen and rise up?

When that day comes, how sorry Uyghurs will be,
Then, you will understand the meaning of my call.
It will be too late for regret, too late to wake,
Only then, Uyghurs, my people, will you remember me.

Translation by Dolkun Kamberi and Jeffrey Yang


I found sections of another translation in a book called Factory Girl by Josanne La Valley:

Hey, poor Uyghur, wake up, that is enough sleep…

Hey, poor Uyghur, wake up, you have slept long enough.
You have nothing. What is now at stake is you very life.

Stand up! I tell you. Raise your head, wake up from your dream.
Cut off the head of your enemy, spill his blood!

If you do not open your eyes and look about,
You will die asleep one day, that is your fate.


Here’s my attempt:


Awaken poor Uyghur, you’ve slept long enough,
You have no livelihood, only your life to spare.
If you do not save yourself from your own demise,
Your status is endangered, your state’s jeopardized.

Stand! I say, raise your head, come out from your slumber,
Spill the blood of your enemy, set their heads asunder.
If you do not open your eyes and inspect your surroundings,
You’ll die in regret; there will be no second chance.

Even now your body resembles the dead,
Is this why death is not a cause for concern?
I call for you and you lie there, immobile,
Will you die like this, never awakened?

Open your eyes and peruse your surroundings,
Contemplate carefully upon your future.
If you let go of this precious opportunity,
You will be in great trouble, in great difficulty.

My dear Uyghur, my heart goes out to you;
My trench mate, my family, my relation.
I try to wake you, worried for your condition,
But why is it that you never listen to me?

The day will come when you will lament.
It’s then you will understand the words I say to thee.
“Oh,” you will utter, but much too late,
It is then, Uyghur, when you’ll hearken me.


I’m not sure if that’s better but trying to translate it myself has settled those bothersome feelings. I will probably attempt to translate it again in a few years.


Edit 27/10/17:

So I came across another translation which was particularly interesting because it interpreted the “Uyghur” in the last line as a reference to the poet himself (Abduxaliq Uyghur). I’ve seen this done in a few Uyghur poems, so it’s not unlikely that it could be the case. (Also, I just watched the Amannisakhan movie and she refers to her pen name “Nefise” in her poems, too, which was fascinating). Anyway, I’ll leave that translation here as well. If you click this link I believe there are also Arabic, Azeri, Chinese, French, Japanese, Berber, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, and Uzbek translations:

Wake Up!

Hey, poor Uyghur, wake up, you have slept long enough,
You have nothing, what is now at stake is your very life.
If you don’t rescue yourself from this death,
Ah, your end will be looming, your end will be looming.

Stand up! I said, raise up your head, no more slumber,
Behead your enemy, spill his blood!
If you don’t open your eyes and look around,
The end of your frustrated existence is certain.

Already, your body looks lifeless,
Is that why you are indifferent to death?
You remain unmoved by my calls,
Do you want to perish this way, without coming to your senses?

Open your eyes wide, look around,
Think well about your future,
If you let this one chance escape,
Tomorrow will be nothing but sorrow, nothing but sorrow.

My heart pities you, o my Uyghur,
My companion, my brother, my relative,
With a burning soul, I am calling out to you,
But your are not hearing me, what is going on?

One day will come, and you will regret,
That day you will understand the reason of my calls.
You will say “alas!”, but it will be too late,
Then you will realize what Uyghur (the poet) meant.

Original translator: Unknown
© Retranslated by: Rahman & Waris A. Janbaz
Paris, August 21, 2004


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