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Clouds concealed,
Now settled down,
The soft glow of dawn dies.
Life renewed,
New sprouts breaking
Free of withered flowers.

Beginning from childhood,
(I’ll throw a bit of my youth;
I remember well)
I saw curiosities, didn’t I?
I hid their worth within,
Until I became a young man.

Like an eagle snatching a fox,
Gold wing unfolding,
A powerful fire unraveling.
Seems like youth comes
With sparse lucid thoughts,
Without refuge.

Driven from the garden, I searched,
“I’ll go quick,” I said,
Limits of body and soul diminishing.
Looking near and far,
I defended the flame,
Unfound in exile.

Hope might drag you distant,
Reaching for ambition,
I could tire in searching.
When I’m understood,
And your mind is freed,
Will a blissful summer come?

When the light burns,
Brilliant glow,
Will the light spread?
When a seeker finds me,
With an earnest face,
Will I see a friend in the garden?

Ahmet Baitursynuly

Ahmet Baitursynuly (1872–1937) was a highly influential Kazakh intellectual, both creatively and politically. Not only a leading member of the Kazakh nationalist group Alash Orda, Baitursynuly also adapted the Arabic script to be used with the Kazakh language. After his execution in 1937, his work in politics, education, poetry, and linguistics was mostly forgotten. Though he fell victim to the Great Purge, his memory has since been rehabilitated, and he is appreciated as one of the intellectual forefathers of modern Kazakhstan. These poems come from his distinctly political and most well-known collection, Masa (Mosquito).

Jake Zawlacki

Jake Zawlacki is a writer, translator, and scholar. He holds a master’s degree in Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian studies from Stanford University and an MFA from Louisiana State University. He received a Fulbright Fellowship to the Kyrgyz Republic, and he has written scholarly works on Kazakh animation and folklore, as well as on traditional Kyrgyz health practices. His creative work, which often explores meaning and free will through experimental and metafictional forms, can be found at The Saturday Evening Post, The Journal, and The Citron Review. Additional translations of Ahmet Baitursynuly’s work can be found at The Antonym.