It is the life story of Asik veysel who carries the power in his heart by saying ”My loyal darling is the black earth” and who looks at the world by his heart instead of eyes
Today, 25 October 2017, his 123th birthday…
The preciousness of any beautifull thing that is existed in that colorfull world is always “figured out” after it gets lost. When a bald man dies, they say he had golden hair. Because people can’t realize how much valuable the things they have when they have already got them. But don’t let this opinion to make you confused. Beacuse I believe that Aşık Veysel lived with the awarness of precious whatever he got and by writing those lines I’m getting understand that more and more. I’m leaving this part to write later so I can feel the emotion in a more intense way.
I thought how would it be easy to dispense with life and see the world all in darkness being as a blind. But instead of choosing this way he has finnaly figured out how he wanted to live the life by learning from his mistakes and failures. He proved that none of the entity is extists for nothing. Because he hasn’t died before he found the reason of why we came to the earth.
I wish you could figure out the reason you are existed in this world too before the times up.
Veysel was born in 25 October 1894 in the Sivrialan village of Şarkışla district, in the province of Sivas. His farmer father Mr. Ahmet and mother Mrs. Gülizar named him ‘’Veysel Şatıroğlu’’. When he becomes a folk poet, everybody would call him Aşık Veysel. However before Veysel becomes Aşık Veysel, he had many things to experience.
The conditions of village life and poverty days…Veysel’s birth was actually an ordinary one if we look at the circumstances of these days. Mrs. Gulizar was in the last days with her pregnancy and she was about to give a birth but at the same time she also had a lot of works to do such as milking the sheeps. She went to Aypınar pasture which is close to their village. This place is where she gave her birth. She covered her baby with a tatter and turned back to village…
An epidemic has already started to shown up before Veysel was born. Variola. Both of his sisters died from plague, Veysel has never seen them. Including Veysel they were 3 siblings, his sister Elif and his brother Ali.
When Veysel was 7, he was healthy, unharmed, a sensitive boy taking lots of sedateness who lives in a village conditions. But in 1901 the same epidemic shown up again in their region. Veysel would take his share also, after years he described the days that he got ill with these sentences:
‘’My mom sewed a nice clothes just before I got variola. I wore them to go to show Mrs Muhsine who likes me a lot. She liked me a lot. It was a muddy day, while I was turning back to home my foot slipped and I fell. I couln’t get on my feeds anymore. I got variola. Variola was main. I lost my left eye because of that disease. My right eye had cataract also. From that day, my whole world came crashing down around me.’’
At least his right eye got the chance of sight, at first he could percieve the existence of light. There was a doctor who could treated his eye well in Akdağmadeni. However Veysel’s fate would be like that, while his world getting darker his eye of heart would get lightener.
One day he was milking the cow by seeing the light with his right eye, his father came closer to him with a wand. As soon as he heard that his father came, he suddenly turned and fell down. This is how the wand destroyed his right eye…
That unexpected unlucky accident made Veysel’s life all dark. When he fell, he got some scratches on his hands, it was bleeding. This is why ‘’red’’ is so clear in his memory, it was red of blood. Mrs Gülizar used to describe how her son knew red with those sentences: ‘’ He only remembers red beacuse he have seen red, he fell before he got variola. He remembered what colour the blood was. He finds the green by his hands and loves it.
His mother, father, sister and brother all were so grieved about Veysel’s situation. Day by day Veysel was turning upon himself and his father Mr. Ahmet couldn’t stop blaming himself. Elif always helped his brother. She used to take his hand and walk around so that he wouldn’t feel bored. The whole family was falling all over him.
After a while his father tried to find something that his son could get busy with. He couldn’t stand more to see his son to get withdraw into himself. Mr. Ahmet was interested in poetry an close with dervish lodge. He started to read some poems to his son and made him memorize them. One day he gave a baglama (Turkish traditional instrument) as a gift to Veysel. After this some poets came to visit him. Veysel opened his heart around him and used his ears better since he was sightless but he heard poems and the voice of his baglama mostly.
A New Minstrel& Poet Comes up
First years of meeting with poems and instrument.
The area where Veysel lived is used to known as Emlek region. This area was famous by its poets and minstrels. He found out how to hold on to life since his father gave him baglama.
When he said that he wanted to learn how to play baglama completely, his fathers’s friend Asıl Ala ( Çarmışıhlı Ali Ağa) decided to teach him. When he learnt how to play baglama also he learnt there were so many minstrels and he wanted to get lost in their world.
Day by day he got very addicted with his instrument. He knew that he was in the same world with Pir Sultan Abdal, Karacoglan and other many precious minstrels.
Nothing could be the same as in the past anymore. Colours would come out from baglama and would fill the ears then his whole life.
By the time goes he was getting older, actually getting hurt more. He has never felt like something was missing in his life since mobilization days came and his brother went away for army.
War has been declared. All of Veysel’s friend and other people that he doesn’t know started to go for army and this is when Veysel started to realise how much he was deprived of many things. Maybe there were still many another things he was deprived from.
Scarcity and pover was rising.It was the one of the hardest times that people needed to work more and harder to be able to find bread. Veysel’s heart was getting new scars that don’t scabs. He was too lonely. The only thing he could do was lying down under a pear tree and was telling his problems toward the sky which he even didnt’t know what colour it was. It didn’t even matter what time it was.
His family was thinking that he became much stubborn. Actually he was hesitating about telling what his problem was. Even his baglama got almost a stranger to him. Despite of everything he described his feelings of absence with those lines after a while:
What a shame it wasn’t grantes to me
To join people moving down enemy
Fate crippled me, didn’t gave me a watch of sentry
To behead the foe
If I could live those
I wouldn’t beg
Except the fatality it doesn’t come
What happened to Veysel
Veysel got married
Towards to end of the war the fear haunt Mrs Gülizar and Mr Ahmet. They were worried about what would happen to Veysel if they died. What if his sister couldn’t take care of Veysel? What could Veysel do…
Finnaly they found a way as a solution, they matched Veysel and a girl called Esma from one of their relatives. Veysel got married with her very soon.
From this marriage a girl and a boy were born. However Veysel’s fortune was so dark, as black as ink. When his son was just a 10 days old baby, breathe his lasts.
Their marriage was going well. At that time it is proved that his parents right about marriage. Because his mother died in 24 January 1921 and almost 2 years later his father passed away. All of the pain pierced his heart. He has already known how to manage with problems so he was all quite, bleeding inside, the colour he only knew was red…
He wasn’t someone’s son anymore, he was a husband and a father. It was necessary to work. He was busy with farming. Of course he didn’t give up from his baglama. Their village was kind of place of resort for minstrels. There were famous poets such as Karacoglan, Aşık Veli, Emrah, Aşık Sıtkı who come and sing their songs. Veysel was profit by them.
Another Pain of Veysel
Veysel’s brother got married and had a kid also, two families were living together. They hired a server to spend time with kids and help them. People who worked in that kind of jobs were called as “azap” in those days.
He got married without knowing what the love was, he got married with Esma without knowing what kind of feeling it was to love a woman. Maybe he didn’t know what the love was but he would learn its absence.
Nobody knew how it happened. But new server got inside Esma’s head. Someday Veysel was so sick, having a rest and Ali was in the yard. Esma run away with that server, she left Veysel. He hurt so many times. All the new pains used to erase the previous one and substitute with the last sorrow but this time he got hurt indeed.
Esma left Veysel alone with their little girl. He didn’t leave his daughter who was the apple of his eye, anywhere else than his lap for 2 years. She passed away very soon, her tiny body couldn’t stand more. He lost many things he had, it was too much pain for him.
“If I didn’t have that love”
His experiences were just like painful events that belong to different people and to live in different periods but all of them accumulated for one person and same time. Esma’s escape and betrayal was the most painful part of his life. I don’t want to skip the story which is known well. “Your beauty is utterly worthless if I don’t love you” Those words come from the real story.
Veysel was awared of what was going on between Esma and the server. He didn’t need any eyes to understand. He knew they would run away in that day and he got prepared.
Esma took her package, put her shoes on and run away without looking back. She didn’t realize at first because of the rush but there was something hurt her foots. She couldn’t stand more and finnaly stopped. Besides they have already got too far. She put her shoes off and couldn’t believe her eyes.
It was all the money that Veysel had in the shoes. Putting the money inside shoes was the best way to tell his wife that he knew everything. Money was covered with a piece of paper and it was written with those words:
“Take this money and let it be yours. Don’t let anyone to hurt you. By the way your beauty is utterly worthless if I don’t love you.”
First Time Leaving Village
Veysel got to felt himself all alone after his daughter passed away. His soul always wanted to run away very far places he didn’t even know.
He intended going for the first time in 1928. His best friend name was Ibrahim. Ibrahim and Veysel decided to go to Adana but they couldn’t after all. The reason made him gave up from idea of leaving the village was Mad Suleyman from village of Karacayir.
He told how he gave up the idea of leaving the village with those words: “ Whenever I play baglama he listens whenever I talk he stops me. Whenever I say that I would go he bags me ‘ oh, mate my kids are crying, please don’t go’ Finnaly I gave way, I said I wasn’t going anywhere that’s that.”
After that case it’s been a quite a long time, Mr Kasim came from village of Baleni in Zara District, took Veysel to his hometown. They have stayed there for three months. Even Mad Süleyman who didn’t want Veysel to live and Kalayci Huseyin from Sivas were with him. This leaving involved too much meaning but before everything it was the first time he was leaving his village. Even he was in the same city, it was relieving to change place.
Veysel is Marrying Again
Veysel was amazed by being outside of his village. He traveled around many places and Veysel bought a new baglama for 9 lira in village of Girit. I wonder if he got the feeling of starting a new life based on his new baglama.
After all that happened he finnaly could be able to go somewhere else and found a new woman, Gulizar. He got married with her whom is from village in Karayaprak of Hafik district.
A New Minstrel’s Rising
It was literally poverty days in country parts of Turkey. Poorness was circulating in Veysel’s veins and he was trying hard to earn his bread. He got improved a lot playing baglama at the same time. He was playing songs of another minstrels.
In 1931 Ahmet Kutsi Tecer was a literature teacher in Highschool of Sivas. They established the association of prevention of folk poets. They organized the activity of Folk Poets Day which extends for three days on 5 December 1931. It was a novelty and a turning point of his life. Ahmet Kutsi Tecer conduced to make totally new beginnings in Veysel’s life.
This term was corresponded the days when tradition of minstrelling was common. Veysel took his baglama and started to travel too. He has already grown up knowing that folkway so he knew what to do. He came to central of Sivas by travelling around village to village. He has never let his songs get silence.
He sang poems from another minstrels in 1933. It was 10th anniversary of republic in Turkey. Teacher Ahmet wanted all the bards that he knows to write poems about Atatürk. Veysel was one of these minstrels. His first poem was “ Atatürk is recover of Turkey”.
Coming exist of this poem is meant to be coming light of his soul and it happened by showing the courage of leaving his village. A new minstrel was rising.
Barefood Road to Ankara
The regional director of Agacakisla Mr. Ali Rıza liked Veysel’s poem so much and wanted to send him to Ankara.
Veysel said “I will go to Atatürk.” He took his way to Ankara with barefeets with his friend Ibrahim who took Veysel to outside from the village for the first time. Without caring about how cold the winter was, those honorable two men took a long narrow road for night and day. They arrived Ankara after three months. They stayed as guests at someone’s home for 45 days.
He wanted to give his poem to Ataturk by his own hands but unfortunately it couldn’t be happened. He was always so sad about two things, first one is that he couldn’t join the army and second one is that case. Maybe he couldn’t see Ataturk but his poem was published on newspaper for three days by Hakimiyeti Milliye publishing house.
Turning back hometown was an another problem beacuse they didn’t have much money. All the doors they knocked were shutted on their face. They went to community center. Fortunately they knew Veysel and member of parliament was there also. The previous deputy Mr Necip Ali wanted them to give a concert in community center on Sunday. They were bought new clothes. They had money in their pockets after concert. They back to their village with their pockets full of money.
Taking this way refreshed him and improved his pleasure and health. It was the time of travelling around whole country and sing their songs in any places.
Aşık Veysel the Baglama Teacher
Village institututes were established. Aşık Veysel succed in getting famous by his art. He worked as a music teacher in many institutions which names are Arifiye, Hasanoglan, Cifteler, Kastamonu, Yildizeli and Akpinar.
He met with many cultured people who are valuable artists of Turkey in these institutions. He got better with writing poems. Working as a baglama teacher made him get better in many ways.
Aşık Veysel, One of the Last Minstrels
He is the last person who keep alive the tradition of minstrels. What he cared about the most with his work us the usage of the Turkish language. He was so wizard of reflecting his emotions on his art of works. Whatever he experienced was just like at the same time and all together: separations, joy of life, leavings, running away and a little bit courage…
Besides that his area of interests was so wide: nature, religious, politics, social events. He writed many books where he criticized things. He collected his poems in three books: Deyisler 1944, Sazimdan Sesler 1950, Dostlar Beni Hatirlasin 1970.
In 1965 he got vage for 500 lira because of his helps for improving the Turkish language and providing Turkish culture get richer by a rule which was made in TBMM.
In 1970 many famous musicians such as Fikret Kızılok, Esin Afşar, Gülden Karaböcek, Selda Bağcan, Hümeyra complied his folk poems to get more people to know him
Death of Asik Veysel
Asik Veysel died of lung cancer at the same home he was born, on 21 March 1973 at 03.30. He was 78 years old. His home was turned to be a museum after he passed away.
Of course we will never know if he wished he was never born. However how God gave him a breathe he also rendered him immortal. He didn’t know any another colour than red and black which was imprinted on his brain. Did you know that actually he learnt that he could get his sight again by an operation when the health conditions got a lot better after years but he refused. How do we know if things looked so much better which seen from the eye of the heart.
Once he said that “If my eyes could see, I wouldn’t know the earth better and I would just step on it just like you do.” Maybe he just wanted to know it’s value. Of course to be able to see, there was no need for looking.
He fit many experiences in his big heart, all the things that he kept inside was so precious… With his poems, songs, kind heart and eye of his heart… This is how Asik Veysel got through from this world.
Veysel refused the opportunity of seeing again by an eye surgery which is provided by the health science in his declining years.
He passed away towards morning in the home which is a museum today in village of Sivrialan where he was born.
To summarize his life, Erdogan Alkan’s description composes is an great example. Kizilirmak river is shaped just like a question mark. It starts flowing in Zara. It passes from Sarkisla and Hafik then leaves Sivas. It waters Kayseri, Nevsehir, Kirsehir, Ankara and Corum. It firths to sea in Bafra in Province Samsung. His life story has resemblance with Kizilirmak River. One of it’s end point is located in Bafra and the other one is in Zara. From the broad flowing waters of Kızıldağ in the north of Zara, a hurtful life extended until Bafra and fed it until it came to an end.
He has written some of his most liked poems just before he passed away. Now in Sarkisla every year a day is celebrated in behalf of him. His Turkish is homely and he used the language in a very clever way. The technic he used is so modest and almost flawless. The joy of life and gloom are felt together in his poems. He criticized about social life, religious, politics and nature in some of his art works.
The first song he recorded belongs to famous minstrel Asik Izzeti who is from Emlek Region.
She looked once in my direction and passed by,
I didn’t ask either, she answered,
She just passed by.
I couldn’t ask a couple of words,
Her face was it the moon or daylight?
I thought she was the star of Venus passing by,
The brightness of light burnt right through me.
I could not come to a stop from her heat,
I could not know her secret,
I could not see the time of twilight,
Like a star, she disappeared and passed by.
I do not know which astrological star she is,
These sorrows make us eager,
Your dimples revive me every now and then,
Love has failed and passed me by.
Izzer-i says what is the reason for an affair?
I had a dream while I was waking up,
She had changed her love lock into a necklace,
Love, hang it on my neck she said and passed by me.
Âşık Veysel’den Deyişler (Poems from Âşık Veysel, 1944)
Sazımdan Sesler (Sounds from my Bağlama, 1949)
Âşık Veysel Hayatı ve Şiirleri (Âşık Veysel, His Life and Poems, 1953)
Dostlar Beni Hatırlasın (Friends Shall Remember Me
collected poems, edited by Ümit Yaşar Oğuzcan, 1970).