Part 38

(Notes from Turkey)

cruising the narrow Bosphorus strait

Asia on one side
Europe on the other

how should we measure
the distance
between us

outside the Hagia Sophia

the rumble of
an Istanbul morning

not too far away
Medusa marks time
in an ancient cistern

from Taksim Square

through Istiklal street
to the Galata tower

how quickly
names and roads
become old friends

returning from Konya

I buy 22 volumes
of Rumi’s Divan -i Kebir

are still waiting
to be read

wind and water and stone

making for themselves
a strange fairyland

Cappadocia —
millions of years later
still work-in-progress

on the old silk route

dervishes whirl
in a caravanserai

filled with a strange love
I displace myself
from myself

marble paved roads in Ephesus

a magnificent library
a grand brothel

one civilization
examines the other:
what is progress?


in the glow
of an Aegean sunset

little did I know
deep within
the tide was turning

(Istanbul/ Konya/ Cappadocia/Ephesus, Turkey)

31 thoughts on “Part 38

  1. This post of course harks back to an old trip and better times, but a thought today too for people still recovering from that devastating earthquake. Wish nature would hold us all a little more gently, more kindly.


  2. A reminder of a long ago journey with my daughter immersing ourselves in an ancient culturemuch different than our ownbut always surrounded by smiles that we recognized. Thank you.


  3. This takes me straight to my own travels around Turkey. I loved so much of what I experienced there. My heart goes out to the people who have lost so much in the recent earthquake.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Humankind has not been gentle with nature and nature sometimes is not gentle with us. Sadly, what takes centuries to build can take an instant to destroy and possibly become lost forever, which is why memories gathered in pictures and words are so critically historically important.


  5. The imagery that strikes me the most is the one of the brothel and the library. In a good relationship (for me at least) the carnal and the cerebral should both be present. And it’s never an easy thing when heart and mind are someplace else.


    1. Ephesus is very interesting with its marble paved roads and mosaics and massive library – and brothel. Really makes you wonder. Absolutely right about relationships though! Ideally that convergence is mandatory!! 🙂


  6. Yes, I like this so very much. Haven’t been to Cappadocia or any of the interior but have done the rest. We went through the Phosphorous Strait going into the Black Sea (after spending two days in Istanbul). Ephesus was another day, way back in 1979.
    Thank you for the remembrances triggered.


  7. “I displace myself from myself …” Maybe that’s the point of travel, to see until the seeing changes us, moves the tide as you say. Elizabeth Bishop asks in ” Questions of Travel,” “Is it lack of imagination that makes us come / to imagined places, not just stay at home? / Or could Pascal have been not entirely right / about just sitting quietly in one’s room?” Indeed. I’m not a traveller – too much of getting there and finding a way back — except when I read: But maybe there needn’t be such a point to travel or reading. Some excellent structure here – great variety for the series – yet I keep reading in hope of a destination becoming knowledge. Maybe the journey really is the destination. Great sights for sure and told exquisitely, Rajani.


  8. I like the little snippets of imagery of each place. Quite magical, really.
    I have not been to Turkey. Straddling Asia and Europe, and was once a great empire itself, it must be an amazing place. 🙂


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