In just a few hours on Saturday, a west suburban man gave away almost everything he owned.
Brian Bagnall, 32, of Franklin Park, who authored a book on happiness, gave away everything in his home aside from a few personal items as he prepared for a move to a furnished home in Virginia.
Instead of selling his belongings, Bagnall reportedly posted on…
For the month of November, I have been posting also mid-week under the rubric “Autumn Wednesdays.” Well, as we all know, we entered December. Instead of leaving this Wednesday’s (perhaps) expected spot on my blog empty, I wanted to cross over this fairy-tale-like bridge with you to December (no worries: snow of this amount is yet to come to my neighborhood…). I wish you the best in every aspect of your lives and look forward to greeting you once again with my Sunday reflections.
Stay warm/cold depending on where you are but remain in good health and in high spirits!
Continued from last Sunday…
“Good morning, Mrs. Güven.” Huban’s mother always received a friendly welcome from the nurses. Her now well-known routine was to arrive at the hospital before the doctors began their morning rounds. “She should be about to wake up now,” the youngest added in a low voice. They all watched her go in to her daughter’s room in quiet steps and close the door behind her in the same careful way.
Huban wasn’t in her bed. Her mother knocked on the bathroom door: “Good morning, baby! Do you need anything in there?” The lack of any sound made her panic. She tried the door. It was locked. She ran out to the hallway, asking for help. A male nurse shouldered the door. Huban was lying on the edge of the shower. Her blood covered her wrists, her robe, the floor and the hand basin. Her useless hands were still wrapped in gauze. On the left side of her head, lain a shiny piece. Her mouth was filled with blood, pieces of her lips dangled away from it…
“I loved her so. God, I loved her so! As if she were my own.”
“My dear Mrs. Güven, believe me I know,” Aker spoke in despair. His feelings of guilt were suffocating him. Yet, he was grateful she broke the adoption agency’s code for secrecy. He wrapped his arms around her. They stayed in tight embrace for a long time. He then helped her outside, inch by inch, afraid she might fall, losing her balance from the heavy sedatives. He had just seated her in his car, when she turned to Aker – her face distorted by sorrow, and asked:
“Can we say her night nurse goodbye? She treated Huban and me with such caring respect all this time. I never learned her name. I don’t think my Huban did, either.”
Aker’s heart ached beyond consoling. ‘She requested a transfer,’ he had overheard the head nurse tell the others that morning, while waiting for everyone to clear Huban’s room.
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Güven but she no longer works here,” Aker replied, sad to disappoint her. Much sadder to have lost Melek by a few hours…Yet, comforted to know she was saved from finding out her Melis’ tragic fate.
Back in the hospital, an attendant was called in to get Huban’s room ready for a new patient. His first stop, per strict instructions, was the bathroom. When he left it, the space was showing no trace of the horrifying scene many witnessed earlier that morning. That the bed was made took him by surprise. The head nurse had told him it was untouched – exactly how Huban had gotten out of it. He reached over and pulled open the covers to start with the fresh linens. He let out a big moan, thinking what he saw on Huban’s pillow to be a violin spider. Jumping back, his elbows hit the side bars. When that jolt didn’t make the thing move, he felt safe to take a closer look at it. His teen eyes were witnessing the most beautiful sight he had ever caught: a black rose.
[Photo image adopted from the Related Article as shown below]
For my last “Autumn Wednesdays” post, my memory took me to my early years of schooling when classes on Ottoman Literature were a requirement. Not much different than the (especially, 18th and 19th century) European literary traditions, female poets and writers of earlier centuries commonly used a pen name also on the Euro-Asian continent we know today as Turkey. Zübeyde (no known last name) of the 18th Ottoman century was no exception. In the 19th century, a time period that witnessed translations of some of her poems in to Western languages, in literary circles she was considered one of the “female Sultans of the land of the poems.” (Also see in “Zaman”)
In her research article, “Kadın Şairlerimizden Zübeyde Fitnat Hanım” Meryem Zarifoğlu lends to her readers first in Ottoman and modern Turkish (subsequently) what she claims to be a very famous song among Fitnat Hanım’s poems:
Güller kızarır şerm ile ol gonca gülünce
Sünbül ham olur reşk ile kâkül bükülünce
Anka dahi olursa düşer pençe-i aşka
Sayd-ı dile sehbâz-ı nigâhın süzülünce
Ol gonca-i nâ-şükûfte olur gül gibi handân
Şebnem gibi eşk-i dil-i şeydâ dökülünce
Her târı birer mâr oluyor gene-i hüsnünde
Ruhsârına zülf-i siyehin şâne bulunca
Can virmek ise kasdın eğer aşk ile Fıtnat
Hâk-ı der-i dildârdan ayrılma ölünce
Güller utanıp kızarır, o gonca gibi güzel gülünce.
Sünbül kıskançlıktan eğilir o saç bükülünce.
Ankâ bile olsa askın pençesine düşer.
Bakışın doğanı gönlü avlamak için süzülünce.
O açılmamış gonca gül gibi güler açılır;
Çılgın gönlün gözyaşı, çiy gibi dökülünce.
Her bir teli yılan gibi oluyor güzellik hazinenin,
Siyah saçın, taranmaya başlayıp yanağına dokununca.
Ey Fıtnat, amacın aşk ile can vermekse,
Sevgilinin kapısı önündeki topraktan ayrılma ölünce.
In my own English translation from modern Turkish, the poem-song appears as follows:
Roses become bashful and blush, when that bud-like beauty smiles.
Out of envy, the hyacinth sags, when that tress curls.
Even if it were the phoenix, it will succumb to the talons of love.
When the hawk of that gaze glides to hunt the heart.
It will smile and blossom like the unopened rose bud;
When the tear of the mad heart pours like the dew.
Each strand of your beauty trove, your black hair, resembles a serpent,
When it touches your cheek while being combed.
Oh, Fitnat, if your intent is to lose your life with love,
Don’t leave the soil before your beloved’s door when you die.
Continued from last Sunday…
“Demir, I found her! I’ve been looking for her in all the wrong places all these years. She is back in Halfeti, working as a –”
“As a what? Where?” Demir asked with obvious impatience. Aker stopped himself from saying anything further.
“Well, my dear Dr. Polat,” he continued with a fake yawn, “I’ll call you first thing in the morning. When we are both wide awake. I’ve been driving all day long, and you certainly sound like you’d need a good night’s sleep also.”
Feeling as excited as a child on Sugar Fest, Aker couldn’t fall asleep. His imagination took him on a joyous ride, where Melek and Demir joined hands. Their Melis next to them – no longer a secret to her father.
Huban took her medications from where she had hid them. In fierce pain, she got up. Almost stumbling over her feet with each of her steps, she walked to the bathroom. She threw all pills in the toilet and flushed. For a while, she followed the twirling water – her head feeling its heaviest. She turned around. Her face was glancing at her. She hadn’t noticed before. A small, square mirror hung above the wash basin.
Remember the day, Butrus, when we met at our new retreat, ‘Yeni Halfeti Café’? How I nagged the owner for keeping our town’s old name? I still think ‘Karaotlak’ fits it better. The home of black roses should strut ‘black’ in its name. Do you remember, how, after my lecture-filled fit, you distracted me in your usual sweet manner? Teaching me our song, my very first English song? The only one I could ever memorize…
When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard, I will comfort you
I’ll take your part
Oh, when darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Chapters 16-18/The End, forthcoming on next Sunday…
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Have you ever had any moments when you wished to have met an individual no longer alive? This desire seems to be visiting me often, and in particular, when poets, writers, and thinkers are concerned. It happened again when I watched the following recording from the post-60s Turkish television archives:
By giving me a sweet surprise from his grave – his laid back wittiness, Cemal Süreya immediately appealed to me as my focus for this November Wednesday. While live on television to talk on the state of literature in the country, the program host asks the poet the issue with the infamous misspelling of his last name. (When spelled with double “y”, it mostly identifies a woman in Turkish.) Süreya replies in polite indifference: “I lost a bet. About twenty years ago. Since I had two of them, I didn’t mind giving away one of the ‘ys’.”
I also wanted you to have a taste of one of Süreya’s perhaps most frequently cited poems, “Aşk” (Love) in its original language. For that, I am resorting to yet another video recording, in which Bülent Yakut delivers an utterly successful reading:
As for the poem I have selected to translate for you from many of Cemal Süreya’s lyrical collections, it highlights a rare find as far as the subject matter. The original version in Turkish appears first, as it has been my practice all this month:
Afrika dediğin bir garip kıta
El bilir alem bilir
Ki şekli bozulmasın diye Akdeniz’in
Hala eskisi gibi çizilir
An amazing continent, this Africa
Strangers know it the universe knows it
That it is drawn on maps
as it used to be
not to blemish the shape of Mediterranean Sea