Tag Archives: death

…a mid-week musing…

pencilin in death

Photo Credit: Self

Date: Summer 2005

Location: Ada, Sinop – Turkey

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Filed under Impulses

. . . lack of dignity in crying?

In the words I quote below, Dejan Stojanovic – a contemporary poet, writer and essayist, conceptualizes a human quality I lack when one were to take into consideration only my reaction to tragic life events:

“To hide feelings when you are near crying is the secret of dignity.”

It would be a dramatic understatement for me to even claim that my case ever involved a mere “near crying” state. Tears run in abundance. Whenever the suffering and pain of others have my attention – regardless of my proximity to them. Then, there is also the matter of my own suffering. While I handle pain rather well, the emotional hurt I experience in the face of heart-wrenching occurrences is too stubborn to let me hold back the salty drops. But, I am not apologizing. For I hold the conviction that the release of one of our inborn emotions cannot serve as a basis to measure dignity. Would you agree? I would love to hear from you either way while I continue to hope that our psyches will grant us with a far less rigid definition of this human characteristic.

In the meantime, I leave you with my emotion-laden words. They came to me at a time when I was in a most vulnerable state of being, facing a rash and harsh demand for a loss to life. As you will probably also conclude, the following lines evidence that my self-judgment as I have started my post with is not severe after all:

ripped off of its cage

hot iron presses upon the open heart

defeated not yet deceased

the body continues to beat

(hülya n. yılmaz, 5.20.2015)


Filed under Reflections

…a note to self: if not wise, seek advice…(Week Six)


[Click for Photo Credit]

…suffering -considered mental unlike pain that is physical- is a result of the act of “clinging”, I had once read outside of Bodhidharma, an act of ‘resisting’ in the sense of our ability or lack of readiness ‘to flow with life’…I, for one, am yet to experience a ‘transformation’ of “everything” as I haven’t stopped “clinging” – for the fear that I may forget those most momentous memories, sad and happy alike…that I will have to to face head-on all over again the loss of the loved ones to death and to life…as if to cease to live…

“Once you stop clinging and let things be, you’ll be free, even of birth and death. You’ll transform everything.” ~ Bodhidharma

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Filed under Reflections

…a new poem

APTOPIX Armenia Slaughter Centennial

If it seems to you like I have been preoccupied with the concept of death lately, you are not mistaken. Reasons that take you to this thought also find me, is my only defense. When one new sad coincidence hit me hard enough, I ended up in a brief direct speech with life’s notorious opposite. In my miniscule poem below. But first, allow me to share with you what to me came as a tragic irony:

May 7th is the date when my mother died – at the age of 48. May 7th was, however, the birthday of my mother’s beloved older brother. He died recently after achieving 84 years among the living. This past Thursday, May 7th has marked the 40th day after his death – according to some practicing Muslims, a time demanding a memorial event. I thus hope to justify my point of focus…

oh death

show me a way

not to love beyond sanity

teach me how to mourn in dignity

in honor of the nothing’s eternity

with grace

© hülya n. yılmaz, April 4, 2015

This poem was one of my three contributions for the May 2015 issue of The Year of the Poet, a monthly book series published by Inner Child Press, Ltd.


Filed under Poetry

When a larger-than-life beloved is no longer…

dayim-2.Sinop 2006

The photograph above is one of the many I had taken of my larger-than-life beloved maternal uncle with two of his grandchildren in 2006 in my former flat in Sinop, Turkey – my back-then-short-lived-residence he had enabled me to purchase and renovate from top to bottom. He was overjoyed to have my Turkish home in the same building as his own.


A 2012 photograph I believe to have originated from his flat in Celle, Germany.

The Turkish poem below belongs to my beloved Dr. (Med.) Mahmut Oğuz Ergün, in which he reminisces some of his vivid memories from his early life in Sinop – his birth town in Turkey he loved with passion. While I am sharing his heartfelt words with you, I remain in the hope that you also had, have or will have the rare fortune of knowing the beauty of someone as special to you as you couldn’t possibly describe but would have to conceive at the core of your being. For me, that beloved legend was Mahmut dayım – my maternal uncle, with whose death early yesterday morning my life has stopped being a privilege of his making.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

His poem, “Sinop’um” with a brief insight:

I may eventually translate and re-post my uncle’s Turkish poem, “My Sinop” but refrain from doing so for the time being, because I know I won’t be able to do justice right now to his upbeat, mischievous lad-like poetic tone or his tireless enthusiasm for life mirrored in every line below. I lack all of the above. At least for today.


Gene gemilerin ışıkları görülüyor limanda

Demek dehşetli bir fırtına var dışarda

Yeşilimsi, mavimsi, beyaz köpüklü dalgalar

Ürkütüyor gemileri açıklarda

Gene Sinop kollarını açmış limanda

Bağrına basmış, koruyor onları kucağında

Eskiden de böyleydi, çocukluğumu yaşadığım Sinopda

Bahçe içinde ahşap bir evimiz vardı adada

Sabah, motor sesleri ile uyanırdım yatağımda

Taka taka, taka taka, taka taka

Yolcu vapuru uğrardı iki kere haftada

Yolcular, karşılayanlar, satıcılar kaynaşırdı limanda

O zamanlar, demir atardı gemiler açıkta

Yolcular çıkardı iskeleye motorlarla

Taka taka, taka taka, taka taka

Bir çok balıkçı kulubeleri vardı kıyıda

Uskumru, hamsi palamut dolu tekneler

Neşeyle dönerlerdi kış akşamlarında

Taka taka, taka taka, taka taka

Gündüzleri balık tutardık adabaşında

Geceleri fenerle lüfer beklerdik kayıkta

Iyi kalpli bir balıkçı motoru

Bizi çekerek götürürdü limana

Taka taka, taka taka, taka taka

Yüzmeyi öğrenmiştim su yuta yuta

Beş yaşında denize girerdim çukurbağında

Eve geç gelince, korkudan girerdim yatağıma

Ama denizin tuzu kalırdı yanağımda

Güzel annem anlardı yüzümü yalayınca

Hınzır derdi, gene denize girmişsin çukurbağında

Cık yataktan, gir bakayım banyoya

Seni velet seni, öyle yalancıktan ağlama

Piri pak olmuş girerdim yatağıma

Ucuz kurtuldum diyerek dalarken uykuya

Gene ninni gibi gelen motor sesleri

Taka taka, taka taka, taka taka

© MOE- Celle -Almanya; 30 Nisan 2004

MOE is how dayım – Mahmut Oğuz Ergün, would sign his full name, sometimes with his medical title right before it.


Filed under Reflections

when time stood still

For 8.31.2014 Blog Post.1326030


are you chlostrophobic

you did very well the last time


staples nausea feverishness anxious about that intruder

acutely aware now of that overly tight of a loneliest space

breathing hurts regardless


the better choice, mri not doable, too early to discard the stitches

surgical endoscopy under general anesthesia a must


not major, considering

a setback nevertheless



when have i become this fortunate, dear Drs. C, A, D, P, Thu, S, Tho

to have you circle around me

not giving up

though perplexed from the onset


how do you manage

to turn nighttimes

into bearable patches

you beautiful sweet Ma, A, Me, S, T, D, B, L


and Alice, oh sweet Alice

your aged yet capable body catering to the troubled vessel of mine

those clear-sky-blue gorgeous eyes reading my face with caring intent

you are a unique woman – your soothing voice rises high

it’s the least i can be

amid you wonder-generating women of various ages

after all

when time stood still for me

wrapped in the silence of death

a precious offering from you all would not




hülya n yılmaz (August 25, 2014)














Filed under Poetry

existential crisis or incomparable bliss?

POSTED.image for ölümü düşünüyorum














You would all believe me, if I told you he is far more beautiful than this picture does him justice, wouldn’t you? Yes! This image is of my grandson’s. His unintended pose here is utmost precious to me because the shoulder on which he has fallen asleep like an angel of my childhood fantasies happens to be mine. I remember having frozen my daughter right on the spot with my smile of who knows how many thousands of volt. My shoulder has been in this position many times before – in fact, my photo here is an older one when my tiny love had just made it to his two months (he is three-and-a half months old in his photo here). With my lucky charm’s shapely head, chubby cheeks, button nose, mother’s mouth and heavenly breath for me to inhale and never let go from inside me. And, those tiny hands with their father’s fingers – just recently freed from their sharp-nail-repellent baby mittens (his grooming kit is very difficult for his mom to near him with…)! Closing and opening at his dreams’ will to let me know I am there with him. In flesh and blood.

Then, I get to go home. Alone. Days go by fast with demanding work.  The nights should follow suit. For, a teacher’s duties multiply outside the classroom to occupy all evenings, weekends and holidays. I end up doing some more work. But, I get distracted (affordably so, of course) and have the urge to write. About many issues of and angles on our existences. The night when my poem below came to me was exceptionally intense in some personal longing and recollection of a recent loss (to life). I had already started mourning over my self without having exited my lifespan yet…On account of “things” not having been possible for me to materialize, nor to hope for, feeling out of time, and other similar harsh realizations. Being made foremost of emotions, my typing took me to an experience of angst. Not for myself, though, but rather only for the afterward. The ultimate innocence, a fully submissive display of trust, the purest and most unconditional love and eyeful of whole body excitement my grand baby was giving me as a priceless gift began to overwhelm me. It was, as if I had just realized what had happened: I, indeed, was the grandmother of a miracle baby boy. Moreover, with him becoming acutely aware of and visibly happy about the wordless interaction between us. Melancholy hit me. The outcome was the following short verse in my native tongue…(an English translation of it is right beneath the original):


ölümü düşünüyorum

eskimiş kalıbıma konup duran inanılmaz bir güzellik nefesinde

yol yorgunu soldakine en karşılıksız masum sevgi gözlerinde

hani cennetten derler ya, işte öylesine kökten gülüşlerinde

korkum sadece benden sonra göreceklerine


i am thinking of death

an indescribable beauty in his breath touching on and off my worn out frame

the most unconditional purest love in his eyes for the trek-weary one on my left

you know how they say: of heaven? such original depth in his smiles

my sole fear

what will he be dealt with

after me

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I wish you all thoughts on and plans for life alone and look forward to your visit next Sunday!


Filed under Reflections