Rumi and I

My early schooling in Turkey was one such that included the study of classical poets. I, therefore, “met” Rumi at a very young age. I remember having been enchanted by the melodic tempo of our teacher’s reading voice. I believe she had mostly read from his Divan and Mesnevi. Did I understand the meaning of those verses? No. I always waited with my landmark eagerness for our teacher’s explanations. Then, many years later, came a time when I found myself at the mercy of my own reading from Rumi. For my dissertational research, that is. About 2 years after earning my degree, an extended book manuscript of mine was published. In it, I had torn apart  a considerable number of 19th and 20th-century German-speaking writers who had been inspired – positively or negatively, by these two timeless poets from the Muslim Orient. Just when I was about to conclude (!) that I had seen all of Rumi’s available writings, and that I could claim some authority over their content, his following words showed up. (It could very well be, of course, the quote below belongs to someone who may be laughing right now at my gullibility . . . for having constructed a Rumi-line).

What, regardless, are your thoughts regarding the cited sentiment?

“Do you think I know what I’m doing? That for one breath or half-breath I belong to myself? As much as a pen knows what it’s writing, or the ball can guess where it’s going next.” ~ Rumi

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. . .

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[Photo Credit: Self]

hand in hand with its clouds above
the mountain mist sheds its blanket
as if to invite me to eavesdrop
where three little black birds went astray
hours ago into their vast depth quietly

i inhale but hesitate to exhale
in my respect for this collective silence
even those Nature’s darling hyper minions
had tucked in their calm under their wings
who am i what on earth am i
to interrupt their cherished harmony

the remainder of last night’s snow
begins to take a nap high above and below

i sit then stand up next i want to jump
up onto the horizon of the self-revealing sky
to soar beyond eternity
in tight embrace of my third eye

hülya n. yılmaz, 3.7.2018

 

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. . .

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[Photo Credit: Self]

they faded away
into the mist above the mountain
little black birds of three
as small as my i lately appears to me

was it over there
where my near-sighted past aimed to see
or right here much farther away
at a distance anew
where today my mind dares to seek
an imagined door ajar
in the vastness of the land and its sky

little black birds of three
as small as i surely am to me
as small as we all are in reality
despite our effort-ed pretense

there is only one enormous entity
that is aware of our stature so miniscule
nothing at all next to the eternal grandeur
to continue to spread before and thereafter
behind us generations’ of lives later

the unfathomable expanse of the universe . . .

three little black birds
two little birds
one little bird

hülya n. yılmaz, 3.7.2018

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. . .

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[Photo Credit: Self]

sitting on the balcony
comforted by a sun-warmed chair
being kissed by the generous morning sun
soaking its reflections on the lake’s expansive air

the last day of this journey
promises countless others on my path

oh what a walk this one has already turned out be

do not wait up for me
you trials tribulations sorrows sadness
i will make this one worth my while
for each of the past ordeal-rich years

with steadfast trots
i will fly up through the sky
sing and dance there and below
in my own tiny but thus far strongest
ever so gigantic steps of my own beat
excluding all along from my dictionary
all words that distantly resemble defeat

hülya n. yılmaz, 3.8.2018

 

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“is what we call ours, ours?”

my life in Turkey was multi-colored
brown and dark brown were the most favorite hues
served inside delicately painted frailly little cups
they were devoured by the dearest indulging
who passed the age-limit
with flying collars

thanks to a multitude of gatherings
i watched joyfully time and time again
many rites of simple pleasure
and observed how my ancestors consumed
the thick strong- and bitter-looking taste
sweetened only by a delicious mix
of laughter-typhoons and mouth-watering
gentlest lullaby-like mesmerizing-ly gorgeous
collective-art of masterful story-telling
often a jamboree of exotically aromatic spices
materialized right before all the senses of the gathered
while they sip by sip went on to starvingly inhale
the short-lived though lastingly multi-layered hot vapor
that oozed through the syrup-attired
ready-to-be-painted-already walls
of our little but heart-heated home
all the way to my behind-the-doors dancing steps
then into my heart’s vast collection of inestimable memories

Turkish coffee
Ah!

soon after i graduated
to my loved ones’ passable grade in age
i accumulated all around me
an army of those intricately hand-made
ceramic art pieces . . . one by one
not even the slightest trace was left behind
of the dark matter that once belonged to their insides

worse!
i started to call them “mine”
resorting however with no waste of a second
to olden plausible lessons in my own defense
i riposted to my inner voice:
Turkish coffee was after all
solely in the custody of the Turks
besides . . .
everyone in my familiar
but also foreign vicinities knew
how it long ago was baptized as “ours”
having held on to the reign
for countless memorable years
so powerfully controlled
that the world still speaks of them today!

then . . .

i became
an older grown-up
and re-conceptualized:
what if that knock-out flavor
which offered itself to us to savor
and those magically aromatic spices in it
were never ours to claim as “ours”
but rather invented and toiled over
by civilizations of the long-forgotten past
not unlike the one of the Sabaeans whose Ma’rib
the hub-city of their regime’s middle epoch
that is largely claimed to have earned its fame
not only for its spectacularly built temples
and other monuments but also maybe more so
for its agricultural prosperity

“Turkish” coffee?
“Turkish” spices
that enhance its perception?

what if its creation
had nothing to do with Turkish-ness

what if its construct
was rooted in the Sabaean ancestry

what if . . .

what if
we stopped to care
about things so mundane
and would re-learn instead
our gifted one-and-only destiny
allowing thus to be immortally re-born
the intended core element of our original self
which many moons ago was the sole stronghold
of that which we, the people
of the so-called “modern” times
ever so dismissively
insensitively
ignorantly
dare to label as “humanity”?

© hülya n. yılmaz, 1.20.2018

[This poem is my third that appeared in the February, 2018 issue of The Year of the Poet, a monthly international anthology published by Inner Child Press. The Year of the Poet has its regularly contributing poets from various parts of the world and features between three and four new poetry writers every month. Now in its fifth year, this book showcases -outside its monthly changing featured poets, the poetic works of fourteen “permanent” writers. The book’s 2018 offerings have been conceived to highlight a different civilization each month. Accordingly, it serves also as a collective educational undertaking to offer insight into various aspects of civilizations of the past and present.]

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. . .

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“Most people don’t realize that the mind constantly chatters. And yet, that chatter winds up being the force that drives us much of the day in terms of what we do, what we react to, and how we feel.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

If you are anything like I am, then you will immediately connect to this claim: At times, there is so much ‘chatter’ in my mind that my inner self is drained of any energy, which is best used in achieving internal peace. But then again, such effort turns me into a thought-driven being – one that is actually not being but rather becoming and trying to become constantly . . . How do you attain the delicate balance in-between?

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“the world’s timeline knows . . .”

they had to be noted
while their desert of sand
still chuckled in giggles
with their newborns’ tickles
but also drained out persistent tears
that were soaked by parents’ eternal fears

wars were aplenty back then

are you with me?
do you see what i see?
on second thought . . .
never mind!
forget about me!
just look
please take a good look
with your heart’s eyes however
holding on all along
to the hand of your conscience too
surely you will heed
the desperate call for a minute-long silence
in the face of the so-called
ancient times’ wholehearted embrace
of building legendary and timeless monuments
of constructing age-old destructions

oh, the broken spirits’ tears!
oh, those souls-burning tears!

wars are too plentiful today

© hülya n. yılmaz, 1.20.2018

[This poem appeared in the February, 2018 issue of The Year of the Poet, a monthly international anthology published by Inner Child Press. The Year of the Poet has its regularly contributing poets from various parts of the world and features between three and four new poetry writers every month. Now in its fifth year, this book showcases -outside its monthly changing featured poets, the poetic works of fourteen “permanent” writers. The book’s 2018 offerings have been conceived to highlight a different civilization each month. Accordingly, it serves also as a collective educational undertaking to offer insight into various aspects of civilizations of the past and present.]

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