How are we to translate a poet’s wail for the impossible distance between himself and his beloved? Is it enough to call separation what makes the lover’s liver burn? Or are we to think of a more explicit way to translate all the meanings and implications of the Ottoman word firak, that implies a whole ecology of love within a poem? In this paper, I focus on poems that feature firak (separation) as their theme. I explore the same poem through three lenses, cultural history, the history of emotions, and history of philosophy, three approaches that Walter Andrews explored through his work. Andrews’s work not only recognized the social power of Ottoman poetry, its specificity and complexity, but also attempted to translate it in contemporary theoretical and scholarly terms. Taking cultural and historical explanation as central to any attempt of translation, I will discuss different approaches to making Ottoman poetry intelligible to contemporary readers, ranging from the literary translation to the cultural explanation, the study of emotions and the history of philosophical interpretations.