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daimiI am the Mirror of All Creation

This is my translation of Aşık İsmail Daimi’s masterpiece deyiş  ‘Kainatın Aynasıyım’. Having in the past been pondering the themes found in Alevi deyiş, this is a prominent example of the humanist theme with, as Melih Duygulu notes, the religio-mystical (dini tasavvuf) references never really absent. If not always overt then certainly immanent. This is also a great example of the ability of the mahlas (or mahlas verse) to structure and form the unity of the lyric. The mahlas verse introducing a shift in tone and the humble nature of the subject (the aşık, the human being) reveals the enel-hak (I am God) theme as one that grounds and honours the human being and is no arrogant assertion. Again, there are plenty of challenges in translating this to English, even though this is a modern composition. I could translate the first line (title) as, more simply, “I am the mirror of the cosmos” or “I am the mirror of the universe”, a meaning that kainat certainly has. It also has the sense of  “all creation” which I have preferred because, while it conveys the sense of the universal it also has association with the living being among other things. The dilemma of how or if to translate aşık again arises however. While I am inclined to leave it un-translated to leave the multiple meanings of “one seeking to enter the tarikat“, “a minstrel-bard”, and a “lover” intact, I have experimented with “enraptured bards” (for the plural aşıklar) in this translation. I’m not entirely convinced by this and also experimented with “enraptured dervishes” though that did not scan as well. In Daimi’s recording (I think made in the 70’s and available on the album Gücenme Sevdiğim – unfortunately still not released on CD) he omits the second last verse.  Interestingly, on the version of the song on the seminal early 1980s recording (by Arif Sağ, Musa Eroğlu and Muhlis Akarsu),  Muhabbet 2, the subtle lyric change from “Kuran’ım” to “Kuran’ı” (dropping the personal possessive)  is made. Halil Atıkgan in his book Türkülerin İsyanı (Akçağ, 2003: pages 70-72) notes rather more comprehensive changes to the lyric in the TRT “repertoire” (no. 4070) version. You can hear Daimi’s recordng from Gücenme Sevdiğim on YouTube.

Aşık Daimi: Kainatın aynasıyım  (I am the mirror of all creation)


Translation: Paul Koerbin

I am the mirror of all creation

Since I am a human being

I am the depth of God’s being

Since I am a human being

Man in God and God in Man

If you  seek look in the human

There is no deficiency within Man

Since I am a human being

In me is knowledge in me is scripture

How many are the worlds in me

The writing tablet and pen are in me

Since I am a human being

So much desire wells up within

Comes forth fizzing like fireworks

Let the angels bow to me

Since I am a human being

I can write the Pentateuch

I can arrange the New Testament

I can discern my Quran

Since I am a human being

With my name I am God

With my body I reached God

With my design I resemble God

Since I am a human being

I am Daimi I am desolate

Humble as dust on the feet

I am wine for enraptured bards

Since I am a human being


Kainatın aynasıyım

Mademki ben bir insanım

Hakkın varlık deryasıyım

Mademki ben bir insanım

İnsan hakta hak insanda

Arıyorsan bak insanda

Hiç eksiklik yok insanda

Mademki ben bir insanım

İlim bende kelam bende

Nice nice alem bende

Yazar levhi kalem bende

Mademki ben bir insanım

Bunca temenni dilekler

Vız gelir çarkı felekler

Bana eğilsin melekler

Mademki ben bir insanım

Tevrat’ı yazabilirim

İncil’i dizebilirim

Kuran’ım sezebilirim

Mademki ben bir insanım

Enel Hakkım ismin ile

Hakka erdim cismim ile

Benziyorum resmim ile

Mademki ben bir insanım

Dâimi’yim harap benim

Ayaklarda turap benim

Aşıklara şarap benim

Mademki ben bir insanım