In The Name of Poetry







Ulugbek Orazbayuly Esdaulet is an outstanding Kazakh poet, essayist, publicist, playwright, translator, Laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Honored Worker of Kazakhstan and Chairman of the Union of Writers of Kazakhstan, was born on April 24, 1954 in Zaisan district of East Kazakhstan.
He graduated from the Faculty of Journalism of Farabi Kazakh University and Higher courses at the Gorky Literary Institute in Russia. His first book was published when he was 20 years old. In 1982, he became a member of the Union of Writers of the USSR and the Kazakh Republic. He is also a member of the Kazakh PEN Club.
Ulugbek is a laureate of the prize of the Union of Youth of Kazakhstan (for the book “White Caravan”, 1985), the literary prize “Alash” for the book (“Zaman-ai”, 1999). Laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Kazakhstan (for the collection “Felt Book”, 2002 (in French “Livre de Feutre” Paris, 2019), awarded the title of Honored Worker of Kazakhstan (2013).

He is a full member of the Kazakh Academy of Journalism and an honorary professor of the M. Auezov and IM State Universities.Shakarima, a lifelong member of the UNESCO Academy of Art and Literature, winner of the Golden Yesenin Medal and the medal of L. Tolstoy, M.Lermontov, awarded the Eurasian Badge of Honor “The World of Eurasia XXI Century” (Russia, 2021), winner of the Independent Prize and the gold medal of B.Sarnogaev (Kyrgyzstan).
His poetry is characterized by two winged features: one (earlier poems) is a subtle metaphorical lyricism connecting nature and the human soul, the other is a fierce civic voice full of resistance and contradictions, the voice of struggle.
He is one of the founders of the Kazakh white verse and verlibra. In 2004 he published a two-volume collection of poems, in 2006 a five-volume collection of works and in 2014 a three-volume collection of selected works. He is the author of the libretto for the opera “Beybars”, the play “Black Valenki” and the poetic drama “Zere”. He translated into Kazakh the works of Heine, Rumi, Firdousi, Basho, Mullah Vagif Penakh, M.Lermontov, A.Blok, Indian, Turkish, Arabic, Korean, Sakha, and other poets.
A number of his poems and works have been translated into Turkish, Chinese, Russian, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Azerbaijani, Mongolian, Spanish, English, French and Japanese. Individual books in translation were published in Paris, London, Ankara, Ulaanbaatar, Baku, Bishkek, Tashkent. According to the survey of the Internet site “Literary Portal” (2011), Ulugbek became one of the 10 most outstanding poets over the past 60 years in Kazakhstan and entered the list of selected 30 names for the 30th anniversary of Independence (2021).



Anti-advertisement – a thick rug


This rug is not for sale;
It is not for sale, I said.
This poet was drinking sadness’s tale –
His tears are woven in the thread.

Cruel fate
With a stiff white cane
Whipped my feelings bare –
And many tried my patience then,
Combing out each tangled hair.

My bleeding vein,
Cut at the wrist,
Oiled the camel’s wool,
And my restless thoughts did twist
Into felt, matted and full.

The fibres of my every nerve
Were stretched out in a thread,
Then doused deep in salt preserve
And spun into a braid.

The rainbow hues
That catch the eye
Where the rich dye clings –
You can see plainly if you try –
Are the hues of my heart strings.

Every pattern, every whirl,
Has my longings drawn within it.
This rug is where my thoughts unfurl –
It’s not a museum exhibit.



Dark clouds and horses


Dedicated to my mother Rosa Seitzhankyzy Salykbaeva


They’re like wild horses, our passing years –
Rumbling, gallop next to our ears.
I dream I’ll be overtaken by their hooves
And I break out in a sweat of fears.

When I was a child, half asleep,
I toddled into the village street.
The evening sun was already sinking;
The sky was ablaze with crimson streaks.

I was young and curious and full of delight,
So I asked who set the sky alight?
And then I saw the herd of horses
Race towards me in the fading light.

I didn’t run.
I had no fear.
I stood transfixed as they came near.
It seemed they were all galloping
To play with me – their plan was clear.

The first horses came sweeping by.
Others jumped over me and high
Above me soared their dark bellies,
Extinguishing my fiery sky.

Clattering hooves flying over me –
Endless, blotting out the sun for me.
Iron hooves, walloping, whirring,
Then a frightened voice cried out to me.

I turn – and mum was there, arms stretching
Her eyes streaming – why’s she crying?
She can’t reach; she’s blocked by horses
Beneath the stampede, I believe – I’m surviving!

Yes, they’re like wild horses, our passing years –
Rumbling, galloping past our ears.
I dream I’ll be trampled under their hooves
And I break out in a sweat of fears.

“You were just three”, Mum would tell me
And today now it seems I’m already thirty.
I dreamed of her yesterday but even
With arms outstretched she cannot reach me…


Kazakh language


Even the Hun, even the Saka,
Were fed with language since they were young
Even while shooting
Even on horseback,
Bleeding, surviving, my mother tongue.

Not the Dzunghars’ threat
Nor the Chinese upstarts
Could shake the spirit out of you.
When vile birds
Pecked at your heart,
You did not lose a beat, did you?

My wounded tongue, my burning flag
Proudly waving on the breeze;
The dark steppe night will never sag –
You disperse wormwood and koumiss!

Al-Farabi and the Beybars
Left their testament in you.
Makhambet’s stamp and other batyrs
Lodge within you through and through.

So deep did our ancestors enrich you
That we now surely face conviction
Because our tongue is littered through
With a dense and tangled diction.

How I can’t I grieve, to come too late,
To be born long after it was young?
I will swap laughter for a sadder fate,
Remembering my mother tongue.

“Lost language!” you may poor scorn –
Gone like the dodo with the dung
But you slander the words to which I was born,
And I’ll pour hot coals upon your tongue!

How can I ever sheath my sword
And hide away my weapon pure
I won’t say this language is God’s word
But it is nature’s tongue, you can be sure!



We are Turkic


We are Turkic!
We are Turkic!

We flash and thunder like the sky.
We rumble like storm clouds rolling by.
We come down from wolves and are renewed
By absorbing Tengri’s power from on high.

Our hearts are ruled by a great dream.
Our story’s told in every stone and stream.
We’ve been beset by tragedy but never drowned
In endless tears of grief, so it seems.

The power of ages echoes in my cry;
I’m a grey wolf, howling at the sky.
I come to life when I’m astride a horse
My skin tingles and I feel I can fly.

When I ride a horse, I am full of might!
When I grip a sword, you’ll see my fierce delight!
We have driven on through passing centuries –
Our people, our glorious nation bright.

The domes of Turkestan stand proud in the sun
Our honour won’t be lost to anyone.
Our forebears laid the path for us all,
And I will maintain the trust they won.

We pray for strength from Tengri on high
When It’s time, we’ll roar like thunder in the sky!
If the wolf flies the blue, how can we
Fear any foe that passes by?

We are Turkic!
We are Turkic!
We are Turkic!


When we are gone


When we are gone, don’t cry for us.
Just say ‘He was a poet!’. Don’t sigh for us.
God alone can forgive our sins, and if not
Then why should you really care for us?

There’s no need for lavish memorial bowers.
No need for fulsome funeral flowers
Just say “He was a poet” and that’s enough –
Keep silent during the morning hours.

Don’t ask why we came – we’ll leave one day.
Don’t look in the sky when we slip away.
Don’t cry; don’t yearn; simply forget
For we will remind you anyway.

We don’t care for statues or a name in lights;
It’s enough we enter your dreams at night.
All the tributes
and mourning
and crying
you need
Are in “He was a poet!” and that’s all right,,,

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