Salam Deng

So I asked someone for Uyghur rock song recommendations and she delivered. One of the songs she sent was this one called “Salam” by Tingshighuch (which means earphones haha). She really liked it because the lyrics are actually adapted from a poem by Abdurehim Otkur called Salam Deng. I loved it so much I made a lyric video with English subs on YouTube 🙂


But the original poem is a bit longer. So I translated that too. Because I’m procrastinating a lot right now. 


Salam Deng

Yelpünüp ötken shamallar, qulaq séling sözümge
Qolgha élip romallar tutung yashliq közümge

Éship taghlar üstidin bérip yéting yurtumgha
Yash yürektin séghinishliq salam éting yurtumgha

Baghqa bérip yetkende güllerni öpüp ötüng
Gul tüwide olturghan dilberni söyüp ötüng

Taghlar éship ötkende chécheklerge salam deng
Derd-elemde örtengen yüreklerge salam deng

Zulum bilen yardin juda mehbublargha salam deng
Qarangghu zindandiki mehbuslargha salam deng

Héch nersedin ghémi yoq bégimlerge salam deng
Atisi zindanda ölgen yétimlargha salam deng

Étizdiki emgeklik déhqanlargha salam deng
Baghda qan-qan yighlighan baghwenlerge salam deng

Yétim oghul, tul xotun bicharemge salam deng
Parche nangha qul bolghan diwanemge salam deng

Yat qollirida xarlanghan chimengülge salam deng
Nomus üchün jan bergen reyhangülge salam deng

Zöhresidin ayrilghan tahirlargha salam deng
Tili baghliq, dili daghliq shairlargha salam deng

Her jayda xar, her nege zar zeiplerge salam deng
Özi miskin, dili ghemkin ediblerge salam deng!

1945-yil Iyun, Lenju



Say Salam // Send my Salam

To the winds that fan by me, lend an ear to what I say
Hold your scarf up to my eyes and wipe my tears away

Climb over those mountains and reach over to my homeland
From my tearful heart send my homesick salam to my homeland

As you reach the orchards, caress the flowers as you pass by
Kiss the beauty who sits below the flowers as you pass by

As you pass over the mountains, send my salam to the blossoms
To the hearts that have suffered from distress, send my salam

To the lovers separated by oppression, send my salam
To the prisoners in those dark dungeons, send my salam

To the Begs with not a care in the world, send my salam
To the orphans whose fathers have died in gaols, send my salam

To the laborious peasants in the farmlands, send my salam
To the gardeners who bitterly wept in orchards, send my salam

To the abandoned boys, the widowed women, to the wretched, send my salam
To the beggars who slave for a piece of bread, send my salam

To the wild flowers humiliated by outsiders, send my salam
To the basil flowers that died for humility, send my salam

To the Tahirs separated from their Zohres, send my salam
To the poets with orchard tongues and black-stained souls, send my salam

To the feeble, bullied everywhere, longing for all, send my salam
To the destitute writers with sorrowed souls, send my salam!

June, 1945, Lanzhou


So I didn’t quite know what to title it. I could have just translated it as “Say Salam” which I think works perfectly fine, but I’m not sure if people outside of the culture would understand it. I almost translated it as “send my greetings” but that would’ve just ruined it, I think. Salam is such a mood. People can look it up. Google is a thing. But yeah idk?

I don’t actually know what “öpüp ötüng” means, even though I translated it as “caress… as you pass by”. Wild guess. The word wasn’t in the dictionary I use. Probably because the poem is from 1945. He also uses the word “Dilber” which is a girl’s name which apparently means “beautiful woman”. I always thought it was a type of flower but I guess not. He does use Chimengul and Reyhangul which are both names of girls as well as plants – pretty sad that Reyhan is a girl’s name in Uyghurche but in English it’s Basil, which is a guy’s name. I ended up translating them to English but the double entendre’s been lost :/

I kept Beg as it is because it’s a type of leader or official and I feel like it works in English the way Sultan or Bey works.

Again, references to Tahir and Zohre, an epic love story/tragedy popular amongst Turk cultures.

Interestingly, he says “bichareMge” and “diwaneMge” which means MY wretched/begger rather than THE, which would’ve been “bicharige” or “diwanige”. I wonder if that was to keep the flow of the poem, or if that was done with some sort of meaningful intent. I translated it as “the” rather than “my” to keep the flow though.


Claiming the mystical self in new modernist Uyghur poetry

Byler, D. (2018). Claiming the mystical self in new modernist Uyghur poetry. Contemporary Islam, 1-20. Link



By recuperating the Sufi poetics of the Uyghur past, “avant-garde” Uyghur poets such as Tahir Hamut and Perhat Tursun are claiming a right to speak as heirs to both a religious and a literary tradition. For these modernist poets, finding one’s own way forward through the past is a way of reclaiming the discourse surrounding Uyghur identity, and the cultural symbols built into it, as an extension of the self. By channeling affect in such a way that it appears to derive from conventional Uyghur imagery, these poets demonstrate a measure of self-mastery that restores a feeling of existential security in the midst of political and religious change. This article argues that the purpose of their poems is to force the reader to accept new interpretations of images of Sufi embodiment and spirituality as valid and powerful. It further claims that the new indexing of Sufi imagery in this emerging corpus disrupts the unity of Uyghur poetry in the genres of Chinese Socialist Realism and ethno-nationalist Uyghur tradition, not in a negative process, but in order to create new forms of thought and subjectivity. It forces the reader to interpret the world not by trying to return to mythical Uyghur origins or reaching for a Socialist or an Islamic utopia but instead as a means of self-determination and affirming contemporary life itself.


The more I read this paper the greater my excitement grew, to the extent where I realised I had not felt this much enthusiasm about academia in years; perhaps I need to change my field lol. Personally, I enjoyed this paper most because it explained so much about the intersections of Uyghur culture, religion, poetry, modernism, and the effects of Chinese occupation, and also recounted what the avante-garde poetry scene in Urumchi is/was like (fascinating!). Byler also describes that thing I’ve been noticing in Uyghur poetry where the author puts their name into the last part of the poem. He explains it in this excerpt where he talks about modern poets referencing Meshrep, a famous Sufi mystic and disciple of Afaq Khoja:

…But the most frequent thing they referenced was the way Meshrep wrote himself into the text of Sufism. They were drawn to the way he ended his poems with a reference to himself in the third-person. One famous example of this was how Meshrep wrote of his dexterity as a derwish who leads other derwishes. He wrote: “Dropped into any pot, I will boil. Hence I am called Meshrep” (Light 2008:120). By naming himself, Meshrep is claiming his position as a mystic who can boil with passion in any context. For contemporary Uyghur poets, this “name dropping,” often found at the end or takhallus of a ghazal, is a way of claiming a position within a Sufi lineage.

Closure at last lol.

It’s interesting to see how modernist poets and traditional(-ists?) don’t see eye-to-eye on various issues, and I think it would be really interesting to see what Uyghur traditional poets/literaries have to say about the avante-garde writers. Give me a literary battlefield any day, I am so ready to watch.

It was particularly interesting when he compared Dilber’s writing (which I loved!) to modernist writing and said how it reflects the yearning for the past and the hope that this Uyghur landscape can be brought to the future, whereas modernists speak more of living in the present (despite still being rooted to the past) (perhaps evolving with the times?). Growing up very much embedded in traditional Uyghur-ness but living in the West and influenced by all sorts of cultures, I feel like understand (and want) both? I would like to read more of both either way, that’s for sure.

Perhaps one day when I’m more fluent I’ll be able to read Uyghur academic papers on Uyghur literature that explores current trends in Uyghur poetry, as well as traditional poetry in the modern context; however, this paper was more than anything I could have hoped for at this point and I am beyond hungry for more.

Also the poems/translations in this paper were gr9

Coincidentally, Kafka is mentioned in there too – I’ve noticed a lot of the things I read (most recently Murakami and Omar Musa I believe?) reference or seem to be inspired by Kafka and I’d literally read some of his work yesterday… I’ll probably talk about him in another post (basically, I think he’s hilarious). Another reference I saw in there was Edward Said which has been recommended to me a number of times in the last few months. Once I finish this degree it’s over for you all…

Uyghur Poetry Reader

Uyghur Poetry Reader
By Nicholas Kontovas & Gulnisa Nazarova


The purpose of this work is to introduce high-intermediate and advanced students of the Uyghur language to a small selection of Modern Uyghur poetry. By now, these students should already have an idea of the importance of poetry as a genre in the Modern Uyghur literary repertoire. As an expression of the poet’s internal world as constructed and cultivated by the external world in which he or she lives, the poetry of a person provides a unique window into the environment in which the poem was written. The subtlety of poetic language — either published in journals or circulated in song — has been and continues to be used among Uyghurs as a way of preserving and promoting their cultural and literary heritage in environments which at times have made it difficult to do so more explicitly. In recent years, the increasing availability of Internet access in Xinjiang and in Uyghur communities abroad has provided unprecedented space for these poems to expand in terms of readership, despite strict censorship of artistic production by the government of the People’s Republic of China.

This book will introduce short poems by six Uyghur poets, with reproductions of the original Uyghur texts, translations into English, vocabulary lists and grammar notes for words and grammatical structures (respectively) deemed beyond the mid-intermediate level.


This book features poetry from Abdurehim Otkur (Iz, Bahar Chillaymen, Khejle Kha-inlar Khejle), Teyipjan Ilyov (Jengchi Akamgha, Togimes Naxsha), Dolqun Yasin (Heslirim), Muhemmetjan Reshidin (He Dep Qoy, Yashisun), Kuresh Kosen (Yerni Satmanglar, Salam Denglar Weten’ge, Kuresh Olmeydu), and Yasin Mexsun (Zerikish).


This… is… so… good… T_T

Yighla Shamal (Cry, Wind)

I came across this video by Mukeddes Mijit and now I will probably be reading more poems by Chimengul Awut – finally, a female poet! (Obviously not a first for Uyghur people, but a first for me, an amateur reader). You can find more information about her here (it’s in French, first published in this Uyghur-French journal, but Google Translate is a wondrous invention). I found more of her poems on this website.

So, because there’s a French translation in this video:

I decided to attempt an English translation. First, the Uyghurche:

Yighla Shamal
Chimengul Awut

Yighla shamal, ozung tokken ghazanglar uchun
Yighla shamal, ozong sokken yarlar uchun
Yighla shamal, ozong mokken ormanlar uchun
Men yighlashni oginey, oginey sendin

Yighla shamal, tozighan guller, leylalar uchun
Yighla shamal, kok muz tutqan deryalar uchun
Yighla shamal, derexmu yoq seyna uchun
Men yighlashni oginey, oginey sendin

Yargha baqqan qar kozum bolsun siningki
Yargha eytqan lekhte sozum bolsun siningki
Yighla shamal, baghringdiki oq miningki
Men yighlashni oginey, oginey sendin

Yighla shamal, tagh-u tashning peryadi uchun
Yighla shamal, lachinlarning armani uchun
Yighla shamal, meshuqlarning dermani uchun
Men yighlashni oginey, oginey sendin


Cry, Wind

Cry wind, for the leaves you have spilled
Cry wind, for the wounds you have severed
Cry wind, for the forests you have concealed
I will learn to cry, to cry from you

Cry wind, for the flowers, the lilacs you scattered
Cry wind, for the rivers held still with blue ice
Cry wind, for the treeless courtyards
I will learn to cry, to cry from you

Let me offer the dark eyes I attend to my lover
Let me offer the heartbreak I utter to my lover
Cry wind, the bullet in your heart is mine
I will learn to cry, to cry from you

Cry wind, for the anguish of stones and mountains
Cry wind, for the hopes and dreams of falcons
Cry wind, for the vitality of the lovers
I will learn to cry, to cry from you





Iz (Trace/Tracks)

Iz was a poem we had to memorise at Uyghur school. I distinctly remember performing it with another student at a Nowruz event. It’s a straight forward yet complicated poem, with some great wordplay that goes beyond my understanding of the language. It gained new meaning in this essay I’ve mentioned before on this blog. In it, there is a translation which I have mixed feelings about (starting with the original):


By Abdurehim Otkur

Yash iduq mushkul seperge atlinip mangghanda biz,
Emdi atqa mingidek bolup qaldi ene nevrimiz.

Az iduq mushkul seperge atlinip chiqanda biz,
Emdi chong karvan atalduq, qaldurup chollerde iz.

Qaldi iz choller ara, gayi davanlarda yene,
Qaldi ni-ni arslanlar deshit cholde qevrisiz.

Qevrisiz qaldi dimeng yulghun qizarghan dalida,
Gul-chichekke pukinur tangna baharda qevrimiz.

Qaldi iz, qaldi menzil, qaldi yiraqta hemmisi,
chiqsa boran, kochse qumlar, hem komulmes izimiz.

Tohtimas karvan yolida gerche atlar bek oruq,
Tapqus hichbolmisa, bu izni bizning nevrimiz, ya chevrimiz.



Translated by T. Abdurazak, S. Saydahmat

We were young when we started our journey,
Now our grand-children are able to ride on horses.

We were very few when started our journey,
Now we’re advancing and left traces on the desert.

Our traces are in the deserts and in the valleys,
There are many heroes buried in the desert with no grave.

Don’t say they were left without graves,
Their graves covered with flowers in the Spring.

Left the crowd, left the scene, they are all faraway,
Wind blows, sand moves, yet our trace never disappears.

The caravan never stops even our horses become thin,
Our grand-children or great-grand-children will one day find those traces.


And now I found another translation which I think captures more of the poetic essence of it (although I don’t think you could ever translate this poem perfectly). I’ve transcribed it from this Facebook video. He seems to translate “Iz” as “Tracks”.


Translated by Michael from Atlan

Young we were when we set out on our great journey
Now our grandchildren have taken up the reigns

Few we were when we set off on our tiresome way
Now we, a caravan, leave tracks in the wilderness

Left were our tracks in the wilderness, even upon the peaks of mountains
Left were our heroes unburied in the dry desert

Yet they were not left unburied where the tamarisks grow red
They lie in tombs of blossoms and flowers of spring

Our tracks remain, our legacy remains, everything remains at a distance
And though the wind may blow, the sands shift, our tracks will never fade

Though our horses waste away, ceaselessly, our caravan presses on
In the end we leave these tracks for our progeny one day to find


…I’m not going to attempt this poem until I know Uyghurche better. Enjoy!


Vijdan Soriqi (An Interrogation of Conscience)

More Abdurehim Heyt. This is by far my favourite song of his, probably because Adile Sidiq did a version of it with her group on the Uyghur version of The Voice that blew me to shreds. She incorporated rock so perfectly with Uyghur folk music T_T. Literally 3 people sent it to me because they know. Anyway, I translated it. It sounds better in Uyghurche but I tried. Enjoy.



Vijdan Soriqi

Tikisti: Abdulla Sawut
Muzikisi: Abdurehim Heyt

Koz achsam dunyagha, men bolup adem
“Yashaysen nechun?” dep soridi vijdan

Chong boldum yashidim, xeli yashghiche
Hayatning yolida davan ashquche
Tapmidim javabni bolghach bek nadan
Tapmidim javabni bolghach bek nadan

Qelbimde okunush, ming bir pushayman
Vijdanim soraqtin toxtimaydu hech

Nime dey, ijattin bolmisa tohpem?
Qizardi yuzlurum, yoqaldi kulkem
Yurugum jawapsiz turatti tip-tinch
Yurugum jawapsiz turatti tip-tinch

Dediki vijdanim, “Koz ichip qara,
Karvangha egiship salghin jengge at!”

Gheplettin oyghunup, qeddimni ruslap
Intildim kureshke, menzilni boylap
Sezdim men ozemni, shu chaghda perhat
Sezdim men ozemni, shu chaghda perhat

“Yashaysen nechun?” dep sorisa vijdan
“El-veten uchun!” dep jawab berimen

Bu yashash yolumdur, yanmaymen haman
Veten-xelq uchun barliqim qurban
Bu yashash yolumdur, yanmaymen haman
Veten-xelq uchun barliqim qurban


An Interrogation of Conscience

Lyrics: Abdulla Sawut
Music: Abdurehim Heyt

As I awakened to this world; I, a person,
“For what do you live?” asked Conscience

I matured and grew to quite an old age
‘Til I could create a mountain pass through life
Yet I could not find an answer, for I was ignorant
Yet I could not find an answer, for I was ignorant

In my heart there is lament, a thousand and one regrets
My conscience stays relentless in its interrogation

What can I say? I have made no cultural contributions
My face reddens in shame, my cheers fade away
My heart stays immobile, unable to answer
My heart stays immobile, unable to answer

My Conscience speaks: “Open your eyes and look about,
Follow the caravans and throw yourself to battle!”

I snapped out of my stupor, straightened my posture
Strode into conflict and reached my destination
I understood myself then*
I understood myself then

This is my path in life, I will not turn back
My existence is a sacrifice for my country and people
This is my path in life, I will not turn back
My existence is a sacrifice for my country and people


*He says Perhat here, which I presume is a reference to the Perhat & Sherin story but I didn’t know how to include it. If I remember correctly, Perhat digs through a mountain and splits it in half (could be alluding to the beginning of the poem), and he is a symbol of struggle.

Ketmeydu (Persistence)

I found out that they arrested Abdurehim Heyt. As of now there are no charges and it has been 5 months. As I was listening to his songs I decided to translate this song of his.


Music: Abdurehim Heyt
Lyrics: Imin Tursun

Qutluq qanlar tamghan yerler köchüp ketmeydu
Otluk tendin aqqan terler qurup ketmeydu
Til deshnemdin toyghan erler chöchüp ketmeydu
Ghuwa shamdin chiqqan nurlar yorup ketmeydu

Tuzaq bilen yash bulbullar ölüp ketmeydu
Aldam bilen sap köngüller külüp ketmeydu
Üzüsh bilen ghunche güller solup ketmeydu
Depsesh bilen bu bagh chöller bolup ketmeydu

Zulum qamcha salghan izler yütüp ketmeydu
Aldamchigha bizning eller pütüp ketmeydu
Chughundekni emdi güller kütüp ketmeydu
Ilim oyghan tehi gizler ötüp ketmeydu.


My Translation:


The lands where dripped our blessed blood will never immigrate
The sweat which dripped from our burning souls will not evaporate
Men adapted to censure and reproach will not fear nor hesitate
The rays of light from a dim-lit candle will never illuminate

Young nightingales will not die out due to traps and tricks
A naive heart will not stop to laugh due to lies and deception
The flower buds will not stop blooming once they have been picked
These gardens will not desertify for being crushed and flattened

Scars left from cruel whippings will not simply fade
Our people will not be fooled by a lying fake
Now the flowers will not wait for the chughundek*
Awaken, my people, these cracks won’t dissipate


*Chughundek is translated as a type of insect or a type of bird so I am not sure how to translate it, but it is a name of some sort of animal that eats flowers, so.


I also found this translation by Rahima Mahmut which helped:

The precious bloodstained earth won’t go away,
The pouring sweat from the hot soul won’t dry,
Brutality won’t shock men who are adapted to cruelty,
Rays of the sunset cannot brighten the sky.

Sorrow cannot kill the little nightingales
Lies cannot make the untainted heart laugh,
Flowers cannot become extinct from picking them,
Gardens cannot disappear because they are trodden down,

Scars left from cruel whipping cannot fade away,
Crooks cannot fool our people,
Flowers won’t succumb to insects that would destroy them,
The cracks in the earth will not close, wake up my nation.


…as well as some Turkish translations online, which I understood through Google translate.

Anyway, the poem is one that describes how we will not disappear because of some setback or crisis, and that we will learn from our history to continue fighting to stay alive. Insha Allah, Heyt and all the other innocent Uyghurs in prison or detention will be freed soon. Freedom for East Turkestan!

Men Olmidim (I Am Not Dead)

One of my favourite songs of Kuresh Kusen when I was a kid was Men Olmidim, which is quite telling of my childhood and politics lol. The song is one that gives strength and drive when everything is going wrong, and is a particularly good motivator and hype-song before protests (side-note: I should suggest this to the community). Here are the lyrics, followed by my attempt at a translation:

Men Olmidim

Ejdatlarning izidin mangmay turup,
Qisas uchun xenjerni almay turup,
Armanlirim emelge ashmay turup,
Meni oldi dimenglar hey ademler,
Men olmidim, olmeymen yaq olmeymen!

Kok bayraqni wetenge asmay turup,
Dushmenlerni tamami atmay turup,
Azap otining tangliri atmay turup,
Meni oldi dimenglar hey ademler,
Men olmidim, olmeymen yaq olmeymen!

Ghalibiyet marshini eytmay turup,
Wetinimdin bu zulum ketmey turup,
Putun dunya Uyghurni bilmey turup,
Meni oldi dimenglar hey ademler,
Men olmidim, olmeymen yaq olmeymen!

Men olmidim, olmeymen,
Kuresh olmeydu!


I Am Not Dead

Before I walk the footsteps of my forefathers
Before I take up my dagger in revenge
Before my hopes and dreams become reality
Do not say that I have died, oh people
I am not dead, I will never die, no, I will not die!

Before flying the blue flag over our country
Before shooting down every last one of our enemies
Before shooting the bullets of grief and agony
Do not say that I have died, oh people
I am not dead, I will never die, no, I will not die!

Before singing the anthem of victory
Before this oppression leaves my country
Before the entire world knows about Uyghurs
Do not say that I have died, oh people
I am not dead, I will never die, no, I will not die!

I am not dead, I will never die
Kuresh* will never die!


*Kuresh is the author’s last name, but it also means struggle, especially in terms of conflict or revolution. Does he mean ‘the struggle’ or does he mean his name like Otkur did in Uchrashqanda? Perhaps it is a technique used in traditional Uyghur poetry? I have no idea but it’s cool.

I first translated this as “I have not died” instead of “I am not dead” – which one is better? Or perhaps “I did not die”?


4/1/18 Edit:

I found a book with a translation of this poem! Apparently the poem is called “Kuresh Olmeydu” not “Men Olmidim” which makes more sense lol. Also the bit that says “Azap otining tangliri atmay turup” is actually “Azadliqning tangliri atmay turup” which means something totally different oops. And they went with “I have not died”.

The Struggle Will Not Die

Without walking in the steps of the ancestors,
Without drawing the dagger in revenge,
Without my dreams having come to fruition,
Do not say that I have died, o people!
I have not died. I will not die. No, I will not die.

Without the blue flag flying over the homeland,
Without slaying the last of the enemy,
Without the dawn of freedom having broken,
Do not say that I have died, o people!
I have not died. I will not die. No, I will not die.

Without singing the march of victory,
Without this tyranny leaving from my homeland,
Without the whole world knowing the Uyghur,
Do not say that I have died, o people!
I have not died. I will not die. No, I will not die.

I have not died. I will not die.
The struggle will not die.

Bu Dunya (This World)

I have always enjoyed Kuresh Kusen’s music. I remember our local mosque sold Kuresh Kusen CDs one time, and my dad brought one home. We listened to it on road trips interstate. As a young child growing up in the west, I’d had a bit of an aversion to very traditional Uyghur music, but somehow that didn’t matter with Kuresh Kusen. There was something about his music that I really connected to. So, recently, I remembered how great his songs were and have been looking up the lyrics. Here is a translation of one I found on this forum thread:

Bu Donya

Bu donya, obdan donya
Qayghuluk zindan donya
Qoynida hikmet tola
Undimes pinhan donya

Bu donya shundaq donya
Tulkiler owlaydu yilpiz
Yolwisi ketken tugap
Maymoni sultan donya

Bu donya shundaq donya
Burkiti tezgen donya
Hoqushi towlaydu ezen
Quzghuni mezin donya

Bu donya shundaq donya
Ussughan cholde yatar
Alimi ketmen chapar
Zalimi haqan donya


My translation:

This world is a good world
A prison-for-sorrow world
Plenty of wisdom in its hold
A secret, silent world

This world is that kind of world
The foxes stalk the leopard
The lions have left, extinct
The monkey-becomes-Sultan world

This world is that kind of world
The eagle-reined-in world
The owl calls the Azaan yet
The raven-becomes-Muezzin world

This world is that kind of world
The thirsty lie in the deserts
The intellects work the fields
The tyrant-becomes-Khan world


Comments? I was wondering if I should keep it as “The” or change it to a possessive “Its” as that might be more accurate. It’s the world’s monkeys that become Sultans… Anyway, I’m not totally sure if I’m right about this, but the poem sounds a bit sarcastic, but at the same accepting of the unfairness in the world. Like a double- or maybe triple- negative.

Tahir Hamut

From the description on the website:

Tahir Hamut was born in 1969 in a small town near Kashgar, in the southwest of China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. He published his first poem in 1986, and has since been recognized as one of the foremost modernist poets writing in Uyghur. His poetry has appeared in translation in Crazy HorseBerkeley Poetry Review, and Off the Coast. Since the late ‘90s he has worked as a film director, and has founded his own production company Izgil, which specializes in documentaries, advertisements and music videos. He lives in Ürümchi, Xinjiang’s capital with his wife and two daughters.

I found more translations of Uyghur modernist poetry, this time translated by Darren Byler and Dilmurat Mutellip (bios in link). Again, fascinating to read and I wish there were more.


A city.
Inside the dead ice
its significance removed
by a cold wind that remains from long ago.
Soaked to the bone
a reflection of stars on the water;
I saw sobbing in broad daylight
where steam seeped out from underground.

A city—
A repeated, chaotic story,
but, I am removed from it.
on a sunny day long years ago,
when a frail girl disappeared from this city,
fearing love.
She didn’t want to understand
the Uyghur words “I love you!”

A city,
as exhausted as I am;
A city,
which abandoned the spring and autumn;
A city,
Fading away in the fog.
March 2007


.بىر شەھەر
ئۆلۈك مۇزلار ئىچىدە
ئېلىپ كەتكەن قەدرىنى ئۇنىڭ
.ئۇزاق زامانلاردىن قالغان سوغ شامال
چىلىق-چىلىق ھۆل بولۇپ كەتكەن
يۇلتۇزلارنىڭ سۇدىكى ئەكسى؛
يەر تېگىدىن ھور چىققان يەردە
.ئېسەدەشنى كۆردۈم كۈندۈزى

–بىر شەھەر
،تەكرار سۆزلەنگەن قالايمىقان بىر ھېكايە
.لېكىن، بۇ ھېكايىنىڭ ئىچىدە مەن يوق
،ئۇزۇن يىل بۇرۇنقى ئاپتاپلىق كۈنى
مۇھەببەتتىن قورققان پېتى
،بۇ شەھەردىن يوقاپ كەتكەن كېسەلمەن بىر قىز
چۈشىنەلگىلى زادى ئۇنىماي
.سىزنى سۆيىمەن!” دېگەن ئۇيغۇرچە گەپنى”

،بىر شەھەر
ماڭا ئوخشاش ھارغىنلىق يەتكەن؛
،بىر شەھەر
باھار ۋە كۈزنى تەرك ئەتكەن؛
،بىر شەھەر
.تۇمان ئىچىدە يىراقلاپ كەتكەن

يىل مارت

City Night

From the airport to the train station and bus station
Myriad people emerge
Crazily they throw themselves at the city
Seeping with anger into the ground like dirty water, splattered
But I enter its night, walking

Glimmering in front of my eyes
Stubborn streets, angry cars, humpbacked buildings, glaring lamps, immoral
Roads, lonely trash, beautiful dungeons, naked concrete
I have come again, as I often come
Yet it is as if I have never been here before
The prowess of the city, the gift of the night
To become a black cat, a white goat
Crossing in front of me on and on
This is all I can do:
The mountain and I hold the two hands of the city
And pull it in opposite directions
I am not interested in anything about this city
I don’t even think of it as a proper place to die
It is just that its night is crazy about me
Out of pity I stroke its head1 and look into its shifty eyes
Grasp its hand and pull it down
Wearing its fog, I lie with it

In this city I am the enemy that fights my self
February 2, 2015

شەھەر كېچىسى

ئايرپوتتىن، ۋوگزالدىن، پاساژىر بېكىتىدىن
چىققان سانسىز ئادەم
ئەسەبىيلەرچە ئۆزىنى ئاتار بۇ شەھەرگە
سىڭىپ كېتەر غەزەپ بىلەن يەرگە چېچىلغان پاسكىنا سۇدەك
لېكىن مەن پىيادە كىرىمەن ئۇنىڭ كېچىسىگە

چاقناپ ئۆتەر كۆز ئالدىمدىن
جاھىل كوچىلار، سەپرا ئاپتوموبىللار، مۈكچەيگەن بىنالار، چەكچەيگەن چىراقلار، قىلىقسىز
يوللار، غېرىب ئەخلەتلەر، چىرايلىق زىندانلار، يالىڭاچ بىتونلار
مەن يەنە كەلدىم، دائىم كېلىمەن
خۇددى ھېچقاچان كېتىپ باقمىغاندەك
بۇ شەھەرنىڭ ئىقتىدارى ۋە بۇ كېچىنىڭ ماھارىتى
بىر قارا مۈشۈك ۋە بىر ئاق ئۆچكە بولۇپ
كېسىپ ئۆتىدۇ ئالدىمدىن ھەر قېتىم
:مېنىڭ قولۇمدىن كېلىدىغىنى شۇ
تاغ بىلەن ئىككىمىز بۇ شەھەرنىڭ ئىككى قولىدىن تۇتۇپ
ئىككى تەرەپكە سوزىمىز
مەن بۇ شەھەرنىڭ ھېچنېمىسىگە قىزىقمايمەن
ئۇنى ھەتتا ئۆلۈشكە مۇۋاپىق جاي دەپمۇ قارىمايمەن
ماڭا چاپلاشقىنى ئۇنىڭ كېچىسى
ئۇنىڭ بېشىنى سىلاپ قويىمەن، ئوغرى كۆزىگە قاراپ قويىمەن
قولىنى تۇتۇپ پەسكە تارتىمەن
تۇماننى يېپىنىپ، ئۇنىڭ بىلەن بىللە ياتىمەن

بۇ شەھەردە مەن بىر دۈشمەن ئۆزۈمگە قارشى

يىل 2-فېۋرال

My Habitat

This place – slightly to the east of the city
A name remembered by many
Lulling them to sleep

I swear
Fish couldn’t dream that a place like this exists
And the nest of the horned wind is also here

I don’t threaten anything here
Yet if my name was not properly connected to my father’s
I would be worth less than a stone

This neighborhood with twenty-six buildings, is where my house is lofted
I, my wife, and my two girls
Floating like four balloons

The meditating walls will never hear
The way the neighbor girl mimics a dog’s barking

Like indecent viewers, countless windows
Gaze steadily at the naked mysteries within

A door with three locks which I have to open everyday
A pair of red eyes which I have to close everyday
A four-room house where I put on and take off my skin everyday

This is my habitat
I am a captive here
It is as clear as my five fingers who has captured me
April 21, 2015

مېنىڭ ماكانىم

بۇ – شەھەرنىڭ قىيپاش شەرقىدىكى
ئىسمى نۇرغۇن ئادەملەرنىڭ ئېسىگە يېپىشقان
ئۇيقۇ كەلتۈرىدىغان بىر جاي

ئىمانىم كامىلكى
دۇنيادا بۇنداق يەرنىڭ بارلىقىنى بېلىقلار بىلمەيدۇ
بۇ يەر ھەم مۈڭگۈزلۈك شامالنىڭ ئۇۋىسى

مەن بۇ يەردە ھېچقانداق نەرسىگە تەھدىت سالمايمەن
مېنىڭ ئىسمىمغا دادامنىڭ ئىسمى قېتىلمىسا
بىر تال تاشچىلىكمۇ ئەتىۋارىم بولمايدۇ

بۇ – يىگىرمە ئالتە بىنا بار قورۇ، مېنىڭ ئۆيۈم مۇئەللەقتە
مەن، ئايالىم ۋە ئىككى قىزىم
تۆت تال شاردەك لەيلەپ تۇرىمىز

بۇ يەردە
قوشنا قىزنىڭ ئىتنىڭ قاۋىشىنى دورىغان ئاۋازىنى
خىيالغا چۆمگەن تاملار ھەرگىز ئاڭلىمايدۇ

بۇ يەردە
رەزىل تاماشاچىلاردەك سانسىز دەرىزىلەر
يالىڭاچلانغان سىرلار ئىچىدە تەمكىن قاراپ تۇرىدۇ

مەن كۈندە ئېچىشقا مەجبۇر ئۈچ قۇلۇپلۇق ئىشىك
مەن كۈندە يۇمۇشقا مەجبۇر بىر جۈپ قىزىل كۆز
مەن كۈندە تېرەمنى سېلىپ كېيىدىغان تۆت ئېغىز ئۆي

بۇ يەر مېنىڭ ماكانىم
مەن بۇ يەرگە بەند قىلىنغۇچى
مېنى كىمنىڭ بەند قىلغانلىقى ماڭا بەش قولدەك ئايان

يىل 21-ئاپرىل


1. In Uyghur this refers to the actions of friends and relatives toward someone in pain. 


27/11/17 Edit: Tahir Hamut now lives in America which means he has Facebook! He regularly posts poetry there so check it out.