Reading Tahir Hamut Izgil's "Somewhere Else"*, I was confused by why "ants" specifically were brought up here:

night after night
one after another
I spoke the names of ants I’ve known

The placement of these lines at the end of a verse seems to indicate some importance. Why does he specifically speak "the names of ants"? Why is it important to qualify that these are ants he's "known"? Why is he saying their names "night after night"?

Basically, what is the importance of these lines, and what are they attempting to communicate?

* I first found the poem in a (paywalled) Atlantic article, for context

  • 1
    There's a slim possibility it's a reference to Quran 27:18, where he hears ants, that think his (solomon's) army will crush them, because they won't notice them. Tahir might be drawing a comparison to themselves and solomon. Also, re-reading the preceding lines, it sounds like they're contemplating praying? Then the analogy of ants that assume solomon can't hear them, is the words of prayer that assume Tahir can't hear them? It's too much of a stretch for me to put in an answer though. Sep 13, 2021 at 15:51


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