Tag Archives: Poetry

Ladybugs

can you picture me with a flower in my hand

let me guess
you said yes

don’t do that again
don’t rush to me that is
with your answer as of yet
you first must listen to my story-let

i had convinced myself not too long ago
that i had enough of those nature’s prides
killer thorns adamant that they must stab my left
‘wait through this last time until the storm subsides’
was what i uttered the soul for it felt bereft
adding ‘you can then find peace in letting it go’
fate however told me
that blossom was not my last to woo

then came along a spectacular bloom
asking the hurt in me to play along
i recognized its incredible colors
though it was from a distance
i had seen it before
its incense was nothing to ignore

i was so afraid
i’m afraid i still am
as they were and are ever so real
and stampede all over the tiny me 
all those agonizing fears
fears of all kinds fears galore

but i am ready to dare to get to know it more

having blossomed on the gentlest soil no doubt 
petal by petal this flower came to me 
each was donning a soothing scent
it sprinkled utter sweetness into my soul
as if to tip-toe
through my window
it enticed me with a dance
so enchanting that i now think
i must have fallen into a trance

“Under the Tuscan Sun”
an all-time favorite of mine
i must share with you its trademark line

wait

no

i just changed my mind

watch it one day
you too may then say
what the older woman claimed
about the title of my poem today . . .

© hülya n. yılmaz, 5.20.2017

2 Comments

Filed under Weekend Reflections

. . .

the need to withdraw
from the present the future
to be able to let go
the nagging angst
over agonies of the past

three balloons were stashed away to last
color-coded in advance with care
favorites but only for me to bear

Erie was vicious that day
the wind was not letting me be
the leading path all frozen up
turned out to be quite a display
over-the knee-deep snow
escorted me from the side
together they put on a dangerous show
to prolong my long-awaited rite

on my poorly prepped frame
the cold felt like a shower of icicles
oozing through every closed-up pore
each tiny drizzle staked to my life its claim

i had never before realized
i had so many orifices
after a while i simply gave up
trying in vain to hold on to my layers

with two crystallized fingers
i held one balloon at a time
which color came first
did not really matter in the least

my lips continued to renounce
even a mumble of that dreaded word
heart’s tongue however
had bloodied tears to pronounce

none of the balloons went very far
one by one they landed on the shore

quite suitable for the beloved two
who had deceased in that distant land
surrounded by three ancient seas

though it too first hugged naked trees
arriving then on familiar soil
the third was to become
my soul-paralyzing challenge yet
it had to be buried along the dead
for that beloved had made
an indefensible fatal mistake
by time and time again setting ablaze
even the debris determined to survive
from among the resilient remains
of my few rebounding cells still alive

© hülya n. yılmaz, 5.16.2017

winter-icicles-dropsnature-rev[Free Online Image]

2 Comments

Filed under Impulses, Poetry

. . .

have you ever touched the sun
madness you would say at once
even if you were asked in a dream

yet

its proximity is ecstatically freeing
all-immersing are its rays of light
sheer layers of tulle its cocooning heat
when you leave your shine is as bright

no i am not losing my mind

i should know

for i have touched the sun

furthermore

the sun

touched me

not only did i not die of that incredible conception
but i also returned with firm determination
to shed fear guilt and self-depreciation
along with assumption blame and expectation

Ah!

its proximity was ecstatically freeing
all-immersing were its rays of light
sheer layers of tulle its cocooning heat
when i left my shine was as bright

© hülya n. yılmaz, 5.2.2017

23269-bigthumbnail[Image Credit: Mirific Sun]

5 Comments

Filed under Impulses, Poetry

Nazım Hikmet on my mind again . . .

Feeling drained of mental and physical energy while in possession of little to none creativity, one day after the end of yet another hit-by-a-whirlwind-semester I am resorting to my safe haven today: To the incomparable Nazım Hikmet and his poetry . . .

[Free Online Images]

Things I Didn’t Know I Loved

Nazım Hikmet, 1902 – 1963

it’s 1962 March 28th
I’m sitting by the window on the Prague-Berlin train
night is falling
I never knew I liked
night descending like a tired bird on a smoky wet plain
I don’t like
comparing nightfall to a tired bird

I didn’t know I loved the earth
can someone who hasn’t worked the earth love it
I’ve never worked the earth
it must be my only Platonic love

and here I’ve loved rivers all this time
whether motionless like this they curl skirting the hills
European hills crowned with chateaus
or whether stretched out flat as far as the eye can see
I know you can’t wash in the same river even once
I know the river will bring new lights you’ll never see
I know we live slightly longer than a horse but not nearly as long as a crow
I know this has troubled people before
and will trouble those after me
I know all this has been said a thousand times before
and will be said after me

I didn’t know I loved the sky
cloudy or clear
the blue vault Andrei studied on his back at Borodino
in prison I translated both volumes of War and Peace into Turkish
I hear voices
not from the blue vault but from the yard
the guards are beating someone again
I didn’t know I loved trees
bare beeches near Moscow in Peredelkino
they come upon me in winter noble and modest
beeches are Russian the way poplars are Turkish
“the poplars of Izmir
losing their leaves. . .
they call me The Knife. . .
lover like a young tree. . .
I blow stately mansions sky-high”
in the Ilgaz woods in 1920 I tied an embroidered linen handkerchief
to a pine bough for luck

I never knew I loved roads
even the asphalt kind
Vera’s behind the wheel we’re driving from Moscow to the Crimea
Koktebele
formerly “Goktepé ili” in Turkish
the two of us inside a closed box
the world flows past on both sides distant and mute
I was never so close to anyone in my life
bandits stopped me on the red road between Bolu and Geredé
when I was eighteen
apart from my life I didn’t have anything in the wagon they could take
and at eighteen our lives are what we value least
I’ve written this somewhere before
wading through a dark muddy street I’m going to the shadow play
Ramazan night
a paper lantern leading the way
maybe nothing like this ever happened
maybe I read it somewhere an eight-year-old boy
going to the shadow play
Ramazan night in Istanbul holding his grandfather’s hand
his grandfather has on a fez and is wearing the fur coat
with a sable collar over his robe
and there’s a lantern in the servant’s hand
and I can’t contain myself for joy
flowers come to mind for some reason
poppies cactuses jonquils
in the jonquil garden in Kadıköy Istanbul I kissed Marika
fresh almonds on her breath
I was seventeen
my heart on a swing touched the sky
I didn’t know I loved flowers
friends sent me three red carnations in prison

I just remembered the stars
I love them too
whether I’m floored watching them from below
or whether I’m flying at their side

I have some questions for the cosmonauts
were the stars much bigger
did they look like huge jewels on black velvet
or apricots on orange
did you feel proud to get closer to the stars
I saw color photos of the cosmos in Ogonek magazine now don’t
be upset comrades but nonfigurative shall we say or abstract
well some of them looked just like such paintings which is to
say they were terribly figurative and concrete
my heart was in my mouth looking at them
they are our endless desire to grasp things
seeing them I could even think of death and not feel at all sad
I never knew I loved the cosmos

snow flashes in front of my eyes
both heavy wet steady snow and the dry whirling kind
I didn’t know I liked snow

I never knew I loved the sun
even when setting cherry-red as now
in Istanbul too it sometimes sets in postcard colors
but you aren’t about to paint it that way
I didn’t know I loved the sea
except the Sea of Azov
or how much

I didn’t know I loved clouds
whether I’m under or up above them
whether they look like giants or shaggy white beasts

moonlight the falsest the most languid the most petit-bourgeois
strikes me
I like it

I didn’t know I liked rain
whether it falls like a fine net or splatters against the glass my
heart leaves me tangled up in a net or trapped inside a drop
and takes off for uncharted countries I didn’t know I loved
rain but why did I suddenly discover all these passions sitting
by the window on the Prague-Berlin train
is it because I lit my sixth cigarette
one alone could kill me
is it because I’m half dead from thinking about someone back in Moscow
her hair straw-blond eyelashes blue

the train plunges on through the pitch-black night
I never knew I liked the night pitch-black
sparks fly from the engine
I didn’t know I loved sparks
I didn’t know I loved so many things and I had to wait until sixty
to find it out sitting by the window on the Prague-Berlin train
watching the world disappear as if on a journey of no return

19 April 1962
Moscow

Source: Academy of American Poets ~ “From Selected Poetry by Nazim Hikmet. Translation copyright © 1986 by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk. Reprinted by permission of Persea Books, Inc.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry, Weekend Reflections

“on a feel good road”

doing a mundane chore
taking out the garbage
the collection bin
several feet away
so it’s walking time

the sun brightens up its rays
bathes me under their glow
kisses me on my forehead
its scent on my bosom and nape
like my daily perfume

i am thus transported in time and space

Freud is said to have challenged:
“Where does a thought go
when it is forgotten?”

a thought
my thought
harboring right this second
innumerable memories
at the contact of one puff of the sun
could it be gone

not even at this mere blink of an eye
not inside my mind
not in my heart
as for my body
it is released to a bullet train
that detected by me alone
makes many a spellbinding stops

an enthralling land extends
and ramifies infinitely
before me
a festival of a sundry of flowers
petal to petal . . .
trees
multitudes of trees
olive pomegranate orange fig lemon mulberry
reddish-black and white
leaflet to leaflet . . .

the window in my private coach
seems at first to have been bolt shut
i get to open this forbidden one
down
all the way down
and take in
take all the way in
each and every one
of the sensory servings outside

it’s past lunch time
i feel hunger crawl into me
to the core of my starving soul
the morsels are aplenty and delicate
i discover a colossal plate
in a hidden arch of my compartment
tucked in by passengers of the many a past
to borrow it on and on then to make it last
i smile at my bountiful tray
i am content proud feel useful
the next traveler will indeed have
a sating manifold fertile sampler . . .

the virgin oil i extracted
from one olive tree my train had passed
helps me draw stick figures in my loan-dish
that the ones who journey after me
can liken to anything of their wish
there
there i am

O Dut Ağacının Üstünde
On Top of That Mulberry Tree

local boys around me
for i am a struggling tomboy
near my grandpa’s stately house
pants shorts or a skirt whatever i have on
i cannot remember or better yet
frankly don’t care a zilch about

my mom in her soft voice calls my name
it’s time to go inside

‘you are no longer a child my girl
and Sinop is a small place
we all must make grandpa proud
why don’t you play with the girls instead
and please only nearby and on the ground’

sitting around the dining table
we devour dishes and dishes of delicious food
some are just ordinary but others purely mom’s specialty
while all grown-ups sip strong coffee as is the habit
mom keeps busy
working patiently
on her most favorite fruit
that reddish-pink
semi-round thing

trying to entice me at least to taste it
by laughing behind a giggly riddle
that to me was then one of a kind
ÇARŞIDAN ALDIM BİR TANE,
EVE GELDİM BİN TANE
From the Bazaar, I bought only one
Came home and found a ton
while i am far from being enchanted
i ask in never-resting curiosity
‘O ne peki?’
What is it?
‘O bir nar, canım, nar!’
A pomegranate, my darling,
The answer is: pomegranate!

. . .

Nar Ağacım Benim
The Pomegranate Tree of Mine

whether one or a ton
THE pomegranate never left me stranded

early and formative school-bench years
showered me with a plentitude of exciting classes
the one on literary imagery
(i later understood correctly)
made my thirst for learning
as acute as my mom’s yearning
for that thing named pomegranate

then came the time of actual growing up
gifting me the privilege to specialize my studies
positive sciences on one road
humanities on the other . . .

a broad literary field of wondrous symbols
an era-identified compilation of Turkish writings
either originally conceived or mindfully adopted
were spread before my eager eyes ears and imagination
a tree of pomegranate the red shiny beads of a pomegranate
no longer were that foreign thing to me

my move out of the landscape of my birth
changed nothing in these later years
for i ran into it again
this time among the pages of a novel
where it was crying

a dear writer-friend of mine
knowing my late-bloomer-fascination
told me she strongly desired a translation
in my hands the same hands that just wouldn’t
just couldn’t let go off that pomegranate
besides
it was crying

joining my confused tears
on one random day at dusk . . .

Kısır Topraktaki Dut
The Mulberry on Barren Soil

high snow covered every bit of dirt
we had peaked the season of winter
sedated by a lifetime lifelong meal
leftovers looking back at me
from my borrowed plate
from my tray of loan

it wasn’t a cardinal’s chest
i could have sworn
a mulberry it was
a reddish-black one
from my little girl-tree
shared way back then
with a few Sinopian lads
before joining my beloveds
before watching that reddish-pink thing unfold
olive pomegranate orange lemon fig mulberry
yes yes oh yes mulberry the reddish-black kind
it was hanging on the leafiest twig
on the branch of my one summer-old tree

as if to wait for me to notice it
before falling onto a softest cushion of snow
like i on that day’s end and many times before
had wished to be falling into my mother’s arms
for lately i have been craving them so . . .

© hülya n. yılmaz (4.20.2017)

Uzak Geçmiş.jpg.opt100x100o0,-6s100x112

In memoriam to my mother whose birthday was in May, who also died in May -on the 7th, the day when her late brother was born.

~ ~ ~

This poem will appear in the May 2017 issue of The Year of the Poet, a monthly anthology featuring the poetry of nationally- and internationally-based writers and published by Inner Child Press, Ltd.

Thank you dear Bill, William S. Peters Sr. for the inspiration to my poem’s title.

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekend Reflections

. . .

annual death of
3.1 million children overlooked
overeating self

© hülya n. yılmaz, 4.2.2017

Leave a comment

Filed under Impulses

“Kazaçok”, we called it…

thinking of mom again
my routinely composed beloved

she is too beautiful not to be so
my in-love dad would say…
a no harm-intended frame of mind
the most vicious version of it though
has been ruling over women
in a tragically fallen Turkey today

dancing the Kozachok
on the beach-road of Erdek late one night

my brother
back in the bungalow
deep asleep

i on the other hand
back then an utterly free essence
in eager applauses
too big for my yet-to-grow hands
exalting to my heart’s content
the no-curfew-months of all summers
ever so ecstatic of my standing ovation

the sea

ahhh

the back-then spectacular sea

with all of her well-aged
head over the heel for her-trees intact
was too admiring mom’s graceful frame
keeping the slightest breeze
in a grip ever so tight
with not even one ripple in sight
lest mom’s step would miss

not even one ripple in sight?

oh this is nothing!
i surely did exaggerate
adorably manipulate
reality a little bit
way back when

mom seemed to me
as if she was caught inside a trawl
willingly laughingly uninhibitedly
living only by being

i cannot remember another moment
when she had let herself just be…

© hülya n. yılmaz, 3.14.2017

2 Comments

Filed under Weekend Reflections