Category Archives: Reflections

A Poem in Turkish and Its English Translation

Hani deriz ya, duvarların dili olsa . . .
benimkiler ne derlerdi arkamdan acaba?

Bunca zaman topladığım
hangi anıya verebilirlerdi ki
hak ettikleri gibi özel bir yer?

Hürriyetimin koluna girdiğim
ilk adımımı mı anarlardı
öncelikli bir özenle;
yoksa serbestçe evimin her köşesini
yerleştirmemi mi izlerlerdi yeniden?
Kendi zevkime göre.
Çoktandır unuttuğum bir hevesle.

Ofisimden yorgun argın dönerken yuvama,
kulak mı verirlerdi artık bastırmam gerekmeyen coşkulu şarkılara?
Çocukluğumdan kalma bir serbestiyle
çınlatmaya tedirgin olmadığım.
Genç kızlığımın sınırsız neşesiyle
bangır bangır inlettiğim şu yaşlı bedenimi.
Kendi doğamdan çekinmeden.

İlk torunumun,
Doğum Günü Hediyem’in yani,
can kardeşlerimle belgelediğimiz
birinci yaşını mı kutlarlardı bir kez daha?

İkinci torunumun,
Minyatür Prensesimin yani,
bebek salıncağını mı
sallarlardı o sakince uykusuna dalabilsin diye?

Hangi bir yaşantımı yazsaydım
çıkmaz mürekkep ile yanıbaşıma,
ki fotoğraflarını çekebilseydim
her birinin doyasıya,
iç burukluğuna çare olan bir nektar yerine,
buralardan çekip gitmeden önce?
Onları her özlediğimde,
her hislendiğimde
onların sıcak kucağına dalmak üzere.

Düşünüyorum da,
yerinden yurdundan edilen
sayısız onca insan
nasıl dayanıyor
böylesine bir kalp ağrısına,
ruh burkulmasına . . .

Hiç değilse ben
başka hiç kimse zorlamadan beni
çıkmak üzereyim yeni yoluma.
Çok zor olacak olsa da . . .

hülya n. yılmaz, 12 Ocak, 2022 

You know how we say, if walls could talk . . .
I wonder what mine would say behind my back?

To which of the memories I have gathered throughout these years
could they possibly do any justice, the kind of justice they deserve?

Would they commemorate with special care
the first step I took to hold the arm of my freedom;
or would they observe me in those days anew
when I set up every corner of my home freely?
According to my own taste and desire.
With a sense of enthusiasm, excitement
I had long forgotten about.

Would they lend an ear to the upbeat songs
that I no longer need to suppress, those
which I would chant on my way home
after a long, tiring day in the office?
Chants of the endless joy of my youth,
delivered to this aged body of mine
from the top of my lungs.
With no apologies for my true nature.

Would they celebrate once again the first year
of my grandson – my birthday present,
a landmark can kardeşlerim and I etched into my life together?

Would they sway the baby swing of my granddaughter –
my Miniature Princess,
so that she could ease into her sleep?

Which of my not-merely existed but lived moments
should I have written on my being with permanent ink,
so that I could take pictures of each one of them
to my heart’s content to have them by my side
as the nectar to ease my spirit’s unease
before I leave my home for good?
To delve into their warm embrace
at the first sight of my longing for them,
my paining for them.

Then . . . I think . . .
about the countless people
who have been and are still being uprooted
from their homes, their homelands . . .
how they endure such a heartache,
such a breaking of the soul.

As for me,
I am having to embark on a new journey
under no one’s force at least.
No matter how very difficult
that step is going to be . . .

hülya n. yılmaz, January 12 , 2022 

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Filed under Impulses, Poetry, Reflections

Remembering the Time Before the Pandemic . . . Monastir, Tunisia

Before the pandemic . . . when life was not all about being concerned for the well-being of your loved ones (or of yourself) . . .

Bill and I upon our late night-arrival in Monastir, Tunisia in 2018 for The Sea Sings Poetry Festival (I was as sick as I had not been in a long time – fever and all)
At the opening night ceremonies for the poetry festival, organized and implemented by dear Abdelhakim Rabéi (captured in the back in the photograph below, standing up)

Enjoying the privilege of being the second and last “foreigner”, and hence, receiving personal attention (the first one being the Honor Guest, William S. Peters, Sr. whose book, Tunisia, My Love, was launched) . . .

Two of the most beautiful children I have seen in my entire life (after my grandson and granddaughter, of course . . .)
The sea (anywhere) and this Sinopian woman = a time to celebrate! (What followed was dancing to our hearts’ content)
The final poetry reading night . . .

Şükran/Teşekkür ederim/Danke sehr/Thank you, dear Abdelhakim Rabéi for the breathtaking memories!

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“The Seven Fine Arts and I”

the seven fine arts and i

a painter – unsuccessful
a sculpturist – clueless
an architect – only a wannabe
an artist of music – no chance
a dancer – failed after the beginnings

poetry and literature . . .
daring to try them out at least

 

*”the seven fine arts and i” is one of the three Ekphrastic poems I have contributed for the September 2021 issue of The Year of the Poet published by Inner Child Press, AKA Inner Child Press International.

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Filed under Poetry, Reflections

Back from fishing . . .

I Want . . .

Erato and Euterpe to mesmerize me.

I want them to lay me down to my sleep
and wake up by their side,
having dreamt of enchanting
poetic lines of my own creation.

I want every breath of mine
on the scent of Calliope,
inhaling and exhaling these Muses.

I want to be fed poetry.

I want all my pitchers, cups and glasses
to daily and nightly absorb poetry.

Calliope, Erato, Euterpe,
come to me please and stay
eternally with me.
Throughout it all,
mesmerize me!

*This ekphrastic poem, “I Want . . .”, will appear in the September 2021 issue of The Year of the Poet published by Inner Child Press, AKA Inner Child Press International.

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Filed under Poetry, Reflections

“Snail Mail”, a Poem

snail mail

tucked in inside various kinds of envelopes,
postcards and personal (or professional) letters
donned their two-option stamp:
domestic or international

they are now on their way
to become a mere memory
of the fast-disappearing past

long before emails won the popularity contest
having gained a steady support
at a record-breaking speed,
snail mail used to be the long-distance venue
with its two-option destination:
domestic or international

if you are my age,
you too have probably seen many a stamp
some, uplifting in their flower prints
or season-specific images;
others, destined to mark awareness
for many a fatal disease

who recalls ever seeing the Duck Stamp
of the U.S. Postal Services in 2020?
i do not, nor did i know about its significance
as far as helping people conserve wildlife
or its contribution to the visibility
of educational programs in the United States,
those that focused solely on largely neglected issues
of environmental and conservation concerns

yet . . . for years – clueless
about the notable mark of the Duck Stamp,
i have been donating to the one leading U.S. organization –
well-known in its efforts in this arena

clueless no more . . .

*”snail mail” is one of the three poems I have contributed for the June 2021 issue of The Year of the Poet published by Inner Child Press, AKA Inner Child Press International.

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“Filistin Aklımda”, a Poem in Turkish

I have written the following poem a few years ago in Turkish – my native tongue. The title, “Filistin Aklımda”, translates into English as “Palestine on My Mind”. The inspiration (if one could term it this way under the circumstances back then as well as at the present) was (and continues to be) the silence we keep in the face of unimaginable atrocities with which the helpless, the innocent, the bystander are being erased from the face of the Earth.

Filistin Aklımda

Filistin’in masumları
kalbimden kalemime taşan
tuzlu damlalarla birlik olmuş,
umutsuz bir ümitle haykırıyor.
Sessizce.
Için için.

Biçare!

Insanlık uykuda.
Insanlık unutkan.
Ben dahil.
Insanlık seçici.
Insanlık kendi rahatında.
Ben dahil.

Umursamazlık ve
vurdumduymazlık
bitmek bilmeyen günlerin sloganı.
Çaresizlikler o kadarla da kalmıyor:
Her yeni başlayan günün fütursuz odağı
kendine biçilmiş özellikli konumunda
ilelebet kurulmuş ayrıcalıklı tahtını koruyor.

Acaba, diyorum,
bir dakika olsun sussak.
Susabilsek yani.
Mazlumlardan kendisine yol döşeyen,
postalların asitte bekletilmiş bağcıklarıyla
birer birer eritilip yitenlerin
çığlıklarıni dinlesek.

Dinleyebilsek yani.

Hiç değilse bari sosyal medya hatırına olsun,
dinler gibi yapsak?

Acaba, diyorum.
Sadece acaba . . .

(c) hülya n. yılmaz, 18 Eylül 2018

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“Skin Hues”

skin hues

what i am about to say is a no-brainer, for sure
my intent is not to assault your intellect
but rather to express the most obvious
so that none of us attempts to disrespect
the basic reality of our humanity
any longer

we are all born with melanin in our bodies
some of us have more of this natural pigment
while children are blind to such nuances
(unless they are taught at home)
as adults, some of us beg to differ
we then choose to go against the stream,
disrupting the most natural flow:
all for one, one for all
for the sake of harmony within humanity

skin hues, thus, become a means to hate,
to hate unconditionally and passionately
it is only a matter of a short time then
before that hatred turns into sizable inheritances
for generations to come

on account of our outer traits . . .

on account of variations in our pigments . . .

what a badge of shame
to wear as the heritage of one’s family!

“skin hues” is one of my three poem contributions to the April 2021 issue of The Year of the Poet VIII, published by Inner Child Press, AKA Inner Child Press International.

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Diego Rivera: “Religions Are a Form of Collective Neurosis”

“God does not exist”

picture an eminent mural by Diego Rivera, please
Dreams of a Sunday in the Alameda, for instance,
with a sign in the hands of Don Ignacio Ramírez:
“God does not exist”

a public furor ensues
the artist is asked to remove the inscription
he refuses to abide by such demands

the painting goes into a 9-year-long prison
Rivera finally agrees to eliminate
the controversial phrase
but first, he avows his atheist stance
and attests his views on religions:
“a form of collective neurosis”

“God Does Not Exist” is one of my three poem contributions to the May 2021 issue of The Year of the Poet VIII, published by Inner Child Press, AKA Inner Child Press International.

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An Old Poem, Re-visited

edify what remains in me, i beg of you!

fast for three sets of ten-years
breathe in the generous tears
never exhaling in completion . . .

solitude grows into a safest companion
lives pass by and handsomely multiply
the longing still consents to no passersby
but then sensation enters
your frame’s aged wisdom
is filled with its first ever self-belief
your arid cells cry out womanhood – your birthright legacy
in ceaseless trust all wed your blazing passion
silenced since . . .
heeding your throbbing psyche
after having starved it for long
you become one for a blissful while

the instant comes fast to divide

i hear you went on to your theories
opting to instruct a joy for your intellect instead
when did you resolve your time of bidding me farewell was just?
what was to become of your devoted pupil
you left with no respect to her aching pain?

loneliness cannot lie anymore
for i had not been sated before
hence the inconsolable aftermath

i am emptied

© hülya n yılmaz – April 14, 2014 (From the “letter-poems to the beloved” project)

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Remembering . . .

Remembering the unforgettable ride to Sinop at the Turkish Black Sea where my dear late uncle took us way back when . . . (I have not been to Uzungöl, the location depicted by this photo but witnessed similarly breathtaking sceneries. That breakfast spread looks so good right there!) / Artık hayatta olmayan can dayımın bizi Sinop’a götürürken gördüğüm unutulmaz Karadeniz manzaralarını hatırlıyorum. (Bu fotoğrafın odağı olan Uzungöl’ü hiç görmedim ama nefes kesen benzeri güzellikleri gördüm o yolculukta. Şu kahvaltı sofrasında bulunmak ne güzel olurdu!)

Photo Credit: Free Online (Uzungöl, Turkey)

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Filed under ... on a "just because"-day, Reflections