What Can Peace Lilies Do?

When my father died, I found myself swallowed up by one thought -but I wasn’t thinking it, I was living it: My last Çınar is gone. Çınar may have its translation in other languages as a plane tree/sycamore/maple, its mention in my mother tongue within contexts of life and death signifies an impenetrable, indestructible, undying fort of mutual, eternal trust and unconditional love. And when the undying dies…

Cankardeşlerim, my soul sisters were immediately there to rescue me from falling into despair and be lost. They had brought along this gorgeous, tree-look alike Peace Lily plant. Stories were shared, about how this plant soothed their hearts when losses to death scarred them. The somber story-telling was frequently interrupted by love-smelling hugs and exchanges of salty drops.

My Peace Lily plant is still alive (I say still because of my fame as a flower- and plant-killer). While looking at it, months later, I still cry. Thinking of Çınarlarım that are gone for the rest of my remaining days. And, I live a want again and again: To be next to them so that I can tell them…

The Peace Lilies have their steady place on top of a cabinet in my breakfast nook, immediately visible to me as I enter my home through the garage onto the kitchen spot. What used to be a builder-dictated area, I have recently transformed into a personal space with only my essentials: my lounge chair (heavily worn-out, therefore only its quite-intact back visible to guest-eyes), a large reading floor lamp and a side table (ignorable in its size but large enough in its function to keep one or two of my most favorite books and a coffee cup). The Peace Lily plant is now grown so much that I feel its presence even without staring at it, as I end up doing sometimes. And: I find day after day a sense of serenity growing inside me, promising growth of my internal peace. Sadness is there in its chronic presence, sitting heavily on the heart. But, acceptance of my newly established orphanhood and gratefulness for all that I was privileged to have lived under the love and care of Çınarlarım for this many years surpass those sad moments.

The poem trilogy below with all the fluctuations in its emotional tone  is my dedication to the ultimate poetry for eternity -life, an unceasingly fluctuating phenomenon that is worth being revived at the core of the psyche.

Peace Lilies

Leaf 3 fell on August 5, 2016

sometimes i drink two in a row
not both at once like you used to
out of your Babiş-cup
despite much teasing

i recycle the same demitasse
for the second round
rinse the inside and the saucer
very fast and without looking in
when the fortune-telling-remains
make me a huggable promise
just like the aunties told and showed me
in those impressionable years

of course i laugh at myself for that ritual
but i no longer have a biting tongue about it
i lived long enough remember enough and well
to see those women through their diamond-hearts
now decayed for decades

just living through the breath-long being
while indulging in the fact
that i have grown an inch
maybe even a bit deeper
so as not to take the self as seriously anymore
the several minutes i set aside are each time
my most memorable simple pleasures of life
around a table setting for Turkish coffee
surrounded by priceless company
that is only visible to me

memories of a most affectionate love

Leaf 2 fell on March 28, 2015

so often i take my mind to a ride
to your birthplace of my particular pride
though merely a dot
on world’s vast geography lot
its all-forgiving all-accepting serenity
saved even me ever so compassionately
during my months of autopsy
where no one but you unpained me
with your right dose of regular Anesthesie

my home phone rings only once in a while
hey i am home not more than only once in a while
it is telemarketers mostly
with their terribly poor timing
and invitations to many an unnecessity
yet i choose to ignore the “caller blocked” sign
and anxiously pick up the receiver time after time
yearning to hear your care-filled voice “Ah, Hülişim!”

i don’t know if the historical your-wonder-inspiring
cafe-in the main mosque-courtyard
the entire town’s gathering place of peace
managed to survive the new regime

Divan Pastanesi is intact
in utter relief i hear…

my soul after all joins yours over there
around two large plates of Revani
playing hide-and-seek with us
under scoops and scoops of ice cream
home-made vanilla we both silently scream
you then ask for a generous serving
of your most favorite topper of desserts
as you always did with a sweet sneaky smile
Sahne – but the real kind please you add as usual
your dark brown eyes sink into their childlike shine
i watch you move in your elegant soul dance
around your once again-found-childhood treasure

i continue to aliken
that bake of generations-tested-recipe
was nothing though next to the sip
you chose to take routinely
with every single part of the package

the address: life itself

as greeted by you

together with its

immense beauty
acceptability
prosperity
gentility
clarity
opacity
brutality
difficulty
cruel absurdity

spoiled milk
All-(or General-)Purpose Flour
broken shell-close to-rotten-eggs
patiently melted but lump-eager butter
hard as Stone Age-rocks-sugar cane-blocks
in lieu of the required finely-blended-granules

one hand-finger-count days of health toward the end
repeated merciless ID-carded cancer visits of types galore
audacity to also take away your newly-a mom-daughter

you must have loved your beloveds so…

memories of a most affectionate love

Leaf 1 fell on May 7, 1981

he loved me as everything you meant to him
because i am your legacy he would say
without ever tiring he tucked me in
with his courageous love for life
his call came in not skipping a beat
on the verge of each of my stormy vibes

your little-girl-picture
appears before me these days
countless years didn’t cloud my awe
how striking your emerald-green eyes are
how intensely you adore him through them
with the selfless gentle caress
of an eight generations-old-woman

i want to unearth your older pictures
my orphaned bodily-grown self
refuses to get colder
and colder anymore
those windows of your soul
may help me turn mine into a whole

memories of a most affectionate love

© hülya n. yılmaz, January 21, 2017

I will never tire of raising my voice to shout out my heartfelt thanks to William S. Peters Sr. (i am Inner Childjust bill) and the late Janet P. Caldwell of Inner Child Press, Ltd. for having privileged me with the courage and opportunity to write publicly and continually as well as to launch my free lance writing and editing endeavor (related links, though not updated recently –AuthorWebPage; EditorWebPage; my co-authored book of peace-poetry). These two unique individuals who are recognized poets, writers and thinkers are also the ones behind the onset and continuation of my poem-contributions to their monthly publication, The Year of the Poet -an international anthology. My thanks go to The Poetry Posse (the same link as The Year of the Poet), my family of mutually caring and giving soul poets who together with our dearest Bill make the said anthology possible. My poem trilogy above was my contribution for the February issue.

4 Comments

Filed under Reflections

4 responses to “What Can Peace Lilies Do?

  1. So bittersweet, so beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  2. Filled with appreciation and sighs. We humans are so strong and fragile, and the loss stays.

    Like

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