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The Rest of the Turkish Idiom Stories

Baki kalan...
Be remembered by your good words...
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The Rest of the Story about...

Baki kalan kubbede hoş bir seda imiş (Lit. It is said that... the thing that survives is a pleasant sound in the dome) -- Idiomatic Meaning: It's better to be remembered by the good words you've spoken, than the bad....

The story... This is the last line of a poem by the famous Divan Poet, Baki. In the line, he kills two birds with one stone using the compound verb 'baki kalmak' -- ' to survive'... First, it provides literal meaning -- 'baki kalan' (the verbal noun) means 'the thing that survives'. And secondly, of course, it plays on the poet's own name -- providing a clever way for him to 'sign' the poem.

There is a hadith (that resembles Baki's line) attributed to the prophet Muhammad, "Beware -- don't speak with a wicked voice, because the voice is not lost in the dome of the sky." Sort of an admonition to remind us that, " the evil that men do, lives after them..."

Baki gave importance to poetic flow, harmony and musicality. In general, he avoided 'Incongruous Language' -- such as words that were hard to say, and 'sticky' syllables. It's said that he could "record the splashing sounds of an eight-oared palace caique canoe in the Bosphorus waters, while jumping from one syllable to the other." So, when writing the lines, "Baki kalan kubbede hoş bir seda imiş," he may not have been thinking strictly in terms of Muhammad's hadith -- he may have been referring also to the importance of flow and harmony in a poem's structure.

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