Yunus Emre was born in 1238 in Anatolia. He was a Sufi and one of the first to compose poetry in the everyday Turkish of his people. Not much is known about the details of his life, but his work reveals a fascinating character: a tortured soul, a biting wit, a self-depreciating humor, a tough love for humanity, an ecstatic love for God, and a deep current of divine inspiration.
Over 700 years later, he remains one of the most beloved poets in the Turkish language, seen by many as a folk hero and a saint. His popularity has recently spiked due to a series on YouTube about his life. Just like us, Yunus lived in a time of upheaval and rapid change, and his poems have a vital message, showing us that reaching out for the divine can be both an escape from the worlds’ struggles and an all-consuming struggle of its own. His intense and uncompromising humanism speaks to people in all times, all places, and all walks of life.
This translation tries to capture some of the rhyme and rhythm of the original language, and to express its truth in everyday speech, the way it was meant to be enjoyed.