Category Archives: Poetry

Luxuries, 5 (A HAIKU on Audio)

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Luxuries, 4 (A HAIKU on Audio)

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Luxuries, 3 (A HAIKU on Audio)

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Luxuries, 2 (A HAIKU on Audio)

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Luxuries, 1 (A HAIKU in Audio)

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“Human Bridges”

While in prison for 27 years,
Nelson Mandela has recited famously
one poem repeatedly:
“Invictus”, as versed by William Ernest Henley

Henley remained on Earth
between 1849 and 1903.
15 years following his death,
our globe was honored by Mandela’s birth.

One day, countless people woke up
to Mandela’s supposedly silenced voice
and learned about the restrictions and violence
he faced throughout his unjust imprisonment.

The now world-renowned Henley-poem
brought to clear view for humanity
self-empowerment’s vitality:
Mandela was anything but a broken man!

An enemy of war just like Aristide Briand,
Carlos Saavedra-Lamas also made history.
Latin America’s first Nobel Peace Prize
belongs to him. The year was 1936.

Born 19 years later,
I, like the poets in this collection,
did always and continue to heed poetry’s call
with an “unconquerable soul”.

I, like the poets in this collection,
arrived here with determination
to pen poems in deep thought and reflection,
showing our respect for him with dedication.

“Invictus” is being re-visited here.
(Minus any time in jail. Thankfully.)
For, through our poetry of and on peace,
we become “the master of [our] fate”.

Not unlike Mandela,
not unlike Saavedra-Lamas,
“I am the captain of my soul.”
You are it, too. Do you not yet know?

 

© hülya n. yılmaz, March 15, 2020

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Human Bridges” appeared in the April 2020 issue of The Year of the Poet, a monthly book published by Inner Child Press International.

Related Readings:

Nelson Mandela
“Invictus”
William Ernest Henley
Carlos Saavedra Lamas
Aristide Briand

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“A Special Treat”

A Special Treat

A government office in our precious Ankara . . . it was not yet evident that you had been struck by dementia. We were in the lobby, waiting for one of the employees to call my number. Many people in the waiting hall seemed to be in some kind of a slumber. Business as usual in Turkey: addresses to modify, IDs to renew. And, I had been away for too long. With this process, there was no room left for me to prolong . . .

Your anxiety was probably higher than mine. I still felt like I stayed longer than necessary in that line. Already back then, you were quite fragile. Though, you gave me your usual alert, “Have confidence, my girl”-smile.

Dad, that day, you told me once again how proud you were of me. The fast fading light in your aged eyes mirrored your love for me repeatedly.

When I asked you for my favorite dessert, you didn’t skip a beat. The Café where we both enjoyed it was quite a treat. That afternoon, 2015’s high summer tasted like cool lemonade. A favorite phrase Mom used to formulate.

Sharing a rich serving of Dondurmalı Kazandibi with you was one of the last gifts life has given me of you. Less than a year later, we no longer had you.

© hülya n. yılmaz, 1.30.2020

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

*Dondurma is “ice cream” in Turkish, and Kazandibi is a traditional Turkish dessert that is often eaten with ice cream.

From my upcoming new book of prose poetry, Letter-Poems from a Beloved

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