“At the Shore”

the mist of the Mediterranean Sea on my face
surrounds me with my loved ones’ embrace
a childhood spent carefree
early youth and young adulthood?
what a bliss!
all my life stages there
are brightly lit in my memory
with nothing left for me to desire
for fulfilled am i to an ultimate degree

on this day, i keep looking back
at each of those moments, i am taken aback
for the beauties i breathe in vividly prevail
and eagerly, i forge ahead to inhale

(c) hülya n. yılmaz, 2.10.2020

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“torn”

a mother’s and a grandmother’s love on one hand,
romantic love on the other . . .
uncertain is my remaining time
just like every breathing soul
nevertheless, i am nearby yet far away
yearning for them day by day

neglecting my little family
i am not whole, for i am not wholly there
neglecting my beloved
i am not whole, for i am not wholly there

torn in-between

(c) hülya n. yılmaz, 2.4.2020

 

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Haunted, an Old Poem

haunted

a life-like statue called my name
a human blue-print of metal
stones filling its insides

for the artist, that was “grief”

depicting a haunted soul
one that grieves over the ongoing wrongs,
those of the past, those yet to come,
the disconnection or death of loved ones
and their accumulated sorrow

relief
escapes me these days
sleep is no longer peaceful
fatigue persists, pays repeated visits
dragging my psyche into a well of quicksand
the more i try to stay afloat
the deeper is my dive
when least expected,
the fall hits me with a vengeance
overwhelming me with all that i am
i then delve into a state of numbness and grieve
over memories that won’t shut up,
over worries that shout out even louder,
over my body’s one-track-minded limitations,
over my incapacitating self-analyses,
over my faint heart’s unending empathy

in vain, i then desperately seek relief
while being haunted by grief

© hülya n. yılmaz, 8.24.2019

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African Turks

African Turks

The Eunuchs of the Ottoman Empire . . .
I knew about their existence,
yet not much else as far as their lives.
I had my early schooling in Turkey,
yet very little had been taught to us.

Decades later, I learned a name:
Mustafa Olpak, a writer and activist.
“Dana Bayramı” was one tradition
African Turks held on to
in order to remember their history.

They were not at all small in number.
Not that such statistics would matter!
Some were held as slaves,
others endured the fire and ascended
into rank inside a powerful empire.

Their descendants are alive.

Power structures come and go.
That is the call.
One day, they all fall.
What then happens to their oppressed?
Cultural accounts will and do talk.

As a Turkish woman, I am in despair.
For this shame, there is no repair.
Going through all kinds of emotions,
I am desperate to spread the word,
for whatever it is worth.

(c) hülya n. yılmaz, 2.1.2020

Related Readings:
~ Mustafa Olpak
~ “Dana Bayramı”: “Afro-Turks living in İzmir celebrated the traditional spring festival Dana Bayramı (“Calf Festival”) until the 1960s. Dana Bayramı has currently been revived among the younger generation of Afro-Turks (Wikipedia).”

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“A Dreamer”

each morning,
i open my heart’s window to hope
that, one day, destroyers of life
will cease to be

the two-legged animal species, that is
the other kind does it for survival, after all

abusers
murderers
warmongers
hate-feeders
fear- and doubt-crafters

you know them as well as i do

the lost souls . . .

every one of them has to go

it is not killing i am talking about
no! it is in our power to take away theirs
silence is complicity
why are we still sitting quietly?
is it not worth for humanity
to not turn a blind eye to their atrocities?

think of it seriously,
as John Lennon once did famously:

“Imagine there’s no countries.
It isn’t hard to do.
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too.

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace.

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one.
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will be as one.

Imagine no possessions.
I wonder if you can.
No need for greed or hunger.
A brotherhood of man.”

yes! i dream to my heart’s content
yes! i imagine the same at the core of my soul
it really is not hard to do
wouldn’t you like to be a dreamer too?

what have you got to lose?

(c) hülya n. yılmaz, 1.5.2020

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“A Duet with Xue Tao”

A Duet with Xue Tao

Xue Tao:

My soul, conforming to this crescent,
dwindles
and flying, now chases a gathering of skies.
Its fine light form, against the darkness, fills
again
and, from all this world of men, its circle can
be seen.

[Xue Tao, “Moon” in The Brocade River Collection]

hülya n. yılmaz:

a gentle wind
lowers itself onto the arid leaf
thirsty for the attar of a new breath
awaiting in patience the first drop
underneath layers of the frozen white

it whispers promises anew
unlocks the box after Pandora leaves

she has been tricked . . .

no ill seeps through this time
the bolt’s ice will not be melting yet
in joyous dance unite hope and smiles
dreams and love recover again

Goethe calls out as if for me:

“Muses, help me with art,
To suffer joy’s pain!”

Ludwig Uhland’s painless joy
cuddles me with a kissing breeze:

“Oh fresh scent, oh new sound!
Now, poor heart, fear not!
Now everything, everything must change.”

[hülya n. yılmaz, “a gentle wind” in Aflame, Memoirs in Verse]

 

(c) hülya n. yılmaz (October 19, 2019)

This post displays one of my three poems that have been included in the November 2019 issue of The Year of the Poet, published by Inner Child Press International.

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A HAIKU

rivers flow through it
mortal life must be led thus
permanence, a laugh

(c) hülya n. yılmaz, 1.8.2020

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