Oktay Rifat şiirinde güneş'in üç hali
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The poetic transformation, which Oktay Rifat (1914-1988) has experienced since his titled Perçemli Sokak (1956), corresponds to a process moving from “language” towards “perception”. After this work Rifat used the “sun” as an object of analogy reducing it to “similarities” and after Çobanıl Şiirler (1976), he used the “sun” as a natural object of “perception”. Rifat’s employment of “nature” by reducing it to similarities turns into a unique style, which corresponds to the styles of interpretation of not only archaic societies but also of despotic ones. After Perçemli Sokak the relationships of similarities may be observed through the concepts of equivalence principle and metaphor. In his poems in which the tenor and the vehicle appear together, Rifat produces a plurality that is reduced to similarities. Because in these poems the sun is treated equivalently with the things that are likened to it in terms of any one of their specific characteristics. In this sense, according to their occurrences in Rifat’s poems, equivalences such as “sun-shepherd”, “sun-father”, “breasts-sun”, “sunmillet”, “sun-sword”, and “sun-memory” are typical. The usage of “sun” reduced to such similarities can only be observed in the poems “Denklem” and “Kaval” in Elifli (1980), and “Gün Doğuyor” in Denize Doğru Konuşma (1982), all of which were published after Çobanıl Şiirler. In Rifat’s “sultan poems” in Yeni Şiirler (1973), what prevails is the employment of the metaphorical language. In these poems, the sun is in close relationship with the “palace metaphor”, which Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar considered to be a concept that can be identified with the general structure of the Ottoman Poem. The fact that this concept of “palace metaphor” is based on the similarity relationships between the qualities of the “sun” and the “sultan”, made it possible to establish a similarity with “sultan imagery”, emphasized by the “sultan poems” in Yeni Şiirler. The parallelism which is compatible with the content of the “palace metaphor”, constructed between the burning effect of the sun and the mortality of the sultan, is reproduced in Rifat’s poem in order to create a “singular” discourse by constructing the metaphors of sultan, using the words “executioner”, “cruel”, “hyena” and “lion”. The expression “orange bird”, in “The Earthquake of 1509 ”, may be added to this singular discourse in terms of its correspondence with the image of “Sultan” in Ahmet Paşa’s (d.1496/7) “Güneş Kasidesi”. After Çobanıl Şiirler, however, Oktay Rifat may be said to have shifted from the employment of equivalence principle and metaphor into a kind of poem in which the use of metonymy is dominant. In the applications of metonymy, the sun is represented not by the things that resemble it, but by any of its natural qualities that correspond to its different appearances in nature. The sun’s metonymic usage, by being reduced to its different appearances in nature, made it possible to produce a “plural” discourse.