. . .

aren’t you afraid to go to those places?*

must i fear to live?
no, you say,
and even add: of course not!

why, then, should i deprive myself
from experiencing a loving embrace
in countries that enchant me
by people so beautiful inside and out
who despite my lack of their tongue
encircle me
accept me
show their desire
to understand me
unconditionally

was i afraid to journey here?
of course not! no!
whatever for?
love is here for all

© hülya n. yılmaz, August 8, 2018

[*This poem draft is an actual account of my experience back in the States. A pure-hearted dear one had asked me this question when I told her/him about my travel plans for the summer this year. As soon as s/he heard my destinations -Jordan, Palestine, Morocco, Tunisia, Macedonia and Kosovo, the above-quoted question popped up. The rest is . . . history, repeating itself: The fear of the unknown. May you live only love-filled, i.e. fearless days!]

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“at Jordan’s Jarash Festival”

sitting in the Roman amphitheater
in anticipation of the global gathering of poets
transported in time and space
i am in an amphitheater in Turkey
my country of birth
and feel Side in me
Efes comes alive inside
Bodrum joins in joyously
her world-renowned white would go so well
with the various earth tones
Jarash offers in abundance
as does Amman at large
my adored host town for the summer

Oh, Jordan
i may have fallen in love with you . . .

i haven’t been to my homeland
in too long of a while
i cannot recall the last time i inhaled
the magical aroma of Side Efes Bodrum
my childhood and youth companion Ankara
Istanbul my grandparents’ initial home
the entire globe’s focus of wonder
sitting on its unique throne
between two continents
in all its centuries-rich glory
while Sinop my adopted Turkish hometown
still keeps me at an ocean’s distance
from her picturesque beauty
since my last loved one’s death

housed yet homeless
for the lacking geography
the home-scented soil’s delight
the gut-laughter’s home-grown fillings
and the condition-less-ly all-embracing air

Oh, Jordan
i may have fallen in love with you . . .

i am enchanted by your Amman
your Zarqa your Al-Karak your Jerash
your people’s mesmerizing warmth
your beloveds’ heart-generosity
your rare gem of natural beauty
your out-of-this-world valleys
your majestically high mountains
your incredible all-encompassing history

in trance with the dance
of poetry’s magical tunes
accompanied by age-old Ud
as brought to life by the tenderly masterful
yet modest hands of a lyrical gift of the ancient past

never mind the to-me-foreign phonetics!
my loss of course but i refuse to fret it
for there is one sound
one sound alone
and that is all there is:
in the soul we are united
through the soul we all speak

shared smiles shine brighter than the noon sun
lighting our blurred paths in the darkest of our nights

poets and non-poets alike
men women young or old
from all walks of life and space
together with children’s delightful giggles
easily evidence pure innocence is acutely in place

Oh, Jordan
i may have fallen in love with you . . .

© hülya n. yılmaz, July 27, 2018

 

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. . .

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[Photo Credit: Self]

A tiny part of one of the gorgeous terrace sections at the home of our gracious host and hostess in Amman, Jordan ~ Everything they have been offering us solely for our enjoyment has been worth an exceptional poem . . . hopefully, upcoming . . .

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“torn”

how can you even begin to understand
when all you ever saw was a callous-hearted photograph
of a savagely soul-emptied land
or grasp the devoted dedicated commitment of its people
to their justly attained long-labored traditions and customs
cradled within the tenderly nurtured gentle realm
of their age-old civilization?

how can you even begin to conceive
where these precious fellow-souls
gather the countless pieces of their insides
after witnessing the slaughter of their babies
or what happens to that infant-innocence
if it survives the annihilation of its elderly
long enough to avow that it will further survive?

why don’t you look around
can you really not see
the multitudes of suffering abound?

torn inside and out
you still just go about . . .

“Business as usual” rules, you say?
better yet, the passé overrules
any likely change in our busy-ness
and stays put on its mighty swing set
to carefreely sway its mundane existence away
from the highest high of a ceiling
to the deepest hole in the ground

© hülya n. yılmaz, June 31, 2018

This poem was my contribution to Palestine. A Conscious Poetic Offering, an anthology of global endeavors, compiled by Gail Weston Shazor, the Director of Anthologies at Inner Child Press International, soon to be published by Inner Child Press International. Nizar Sartawi, the Director of International Relations at Inner Child Press International -educator, poet, literary translator shown in the picture, has kindly translated the poems I have read on various occasions in or near Amman, Jordan into Arabic. My special thanks go in abundance to all these much-cherished individuals.

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[Photo Credit: William S. Peters Sr.]

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One Day Later . . . from Amman

To connect to the Internet has been somewhat of a challenge here, in Amman, where I am deliriously enjoying an incredible stay for about a month. So, my Wednesday post comes to you belated, dear reader. Bear with me not only as far as this delay but also when the content is concerned, as I am re-visiting a poem I have shared with you before. There is a difference this time, however, and that is where else I have presented this piece of my poetry: At the Jarash Festival of Culture and Arts in Jordan. In the future, I hope to write much more about my wonder-filled experiences in this gorgeous world region. For the time being, I will suffice to let you in on a secret only: My reading of the poem below on two different occasions has met a gracious acceptance, for which I was and continue to be most thankful. I have had the privilege to recite my poem first in Al-Karak, Jordan for The Jarash Festival of Culture and Arts and then, in Amman for the Orthodox Club. While I read “routines” in English, Nizar Sartawi, our incredible host in Amman, has in his beautiful voice read it in Arabic. Mr. Sartawi, educator, is a prolific poet in English and Arabic and a prominent literary translator. With this post, I am extending my heartfelt thanks not only to dearest Nizar but also to his graceful wife, Zulfa, both of who embraced us as their family in their gorgeous home in Amman. An eternal shout of “Sukran” to you, dearest Zulfa! An eternal “Sukran” to you, dearest Nizar! 

routines

i wake up to just another day
and am soon on my way to work
a school bus waits at the curbside
its hugs, ready for the bubbly children
a parent or a grandparent is always there
seeing their babies off to their safe returns

i think back and reminisce in peace
about my own child’s schooling ease . . .

children get born also
in other parts of our world of course!
children are cherished also
in other parts of our world of course!
children are loved also
in other parts of our world of course!

some struggle to stay alive
some can only try to struggle
death finds them when too young

though it does not routinely arrive
with the intent of a personal kill
they are often left behind
without a caring guardian

for the rest of their butchered lives
they await their pre-determined fate

the notoriously grim reaper has for long
been contracted by psychopaths after all
from in- as well as outside their nations of birth

in those dispensable long-forgotten geographies
a school bus might succeed in a lucky appearance
in “neutral” zones or at a “no dispute-border” for instance
as a rare sight for sure
a notable source of pride
but only until the moment
its door begins to open wide
either to gulp down tiny corpses
or to spit them out bone by bone

(c) hülya n. yılmaz, August 2, 2017

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[Photo Credit: William S. Peters Sr.]

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. . .

heavy rain poured down
roads joined in the rascals’ fun
a rainbow peeked through

© hülya n. yılmaz, 7.21.2018

after_the_rain_there_s_always_a_rainbow_by_inra98-d6ckedl

[Click here for photo credit]

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“Follow the Yellow Brick Road”

Before the journey begins . . .

Today, I will be on a plane heading for Saudi Arabia. From there, my connection flight will take me to Amman, Jordan. First stop on “the yellow brick road”! I most certainly could live without Dorothy’s tornado effect but nevertheless, I feel like I am about to run into a whirlwind of exciting discoveries galore. The road ahead of me promises ‘yellow’, lots and lots of ‘yellow’ as in brightest sunshiny days; with wonders to meet one ‘brick’ at a time. Thanks to poetry. For poetry. Through poetry. For the next two months, I will be traveling extensively in the Middle East and The Balkans for various poetry events, with the high probability of tasting vino at its divine Western European source (I have heard that the Trevi Fountain has changed its primary hue . . . smiles, sneaky smiles . . .)

Once the jet-lag is over, I will be back for my usual blogging days. I hope you will stay tuned to walk with me one ‘yellow brick’ at a time on this road.

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