“i LOVED school”

Unaware about the terrible ongoings in the world, I led a very happy (and apparently, a sheltered) childhood in Turkey, truly in love with learning throughout my early schooling and the songs we got to sing all through elementary school. And: my family and I never had to worry about whether we would survive the next day amid power games of war mongers. In this poem, my child-self wants to hold on to those innocence- and peace-filled times through a back then most popular Turkish children’s song while my mother- and grandmother- adult-self is in agony over today’s gruelingly violent murders of children. Those helpless little darlings of my old neighboring country being merely one case.

“orda bir köy var uzakta
o köy bizim köyümüzdür
gezmesek de tozmasak da
o köy bizim köyümüzdür”

there is
there is
a village
a village
far over there
far over there
that village is ours
that village is ours

we may not saunter about there
we may not sss… (What did he say? Sibel? Murat?) about there
but that village is ours
but that village is ours

Hocam, I…I…bbbbeg your pardon, please.

What is it, Hülya?

tra la lala la la
tra la lala la la
tra la lala la la la la laaa

Sibel couldn’t part faster
with my corner of our bench
her eye-glassed question marks ablaze anew
she insisted to settle her stare on my right shoulder
and poor dear gold-hearted Murat
he had almost fallen off – again
of what was left for him to safely perch on
he was just too big of a boy anyway
to seize and conquer one single bench

tra la lala la la
tra la lala la la

wasn’t there a tra la la refrain
we all sounded best at
in our mommy-ironed black and white

has even the freshest of the stale leaves
i always tucked in between my memory sheets
dried out already completely

“orda bir yol var uzakta
o yol bizim yolumuzdur
dönmesek de varmasak da
o yol bizim yolumuzdur”

there is
there is
a road
a road
far over there
far over there
that road is ours
that road is ours

we may not return from there
we may not return from there
we may not ever get there
we may not ever get there
but that road is ours
but that road is ours

tra la lala la la
tra la lala…

you sweetly sung poem
only for us children

tra la lala la la
tra la la…

Sayın Ahmet Kutsi Tecer
this one is one of yours
one of the most-liked
most- and best-remembered
wasn’t there a tra la lala la la in there

tra la lala la la
tra la…

salaam Soureyya salaam Moustaffa
salaam Hameed salaam Fatima salaam Laila
could you really see us from your village
did you hear our beloved song then
did any of you sing it together
had you heard it before

tra la lala…

yes i have a child a daughter
and she has a boy and a girl
how about you

tra la la…

oh i only said

how about you

tra la…

a boy and two girls

how lovely

do they also learn how to sing in school


. . .

words of old lore then
began to haunt my privileged self
though i knew this Halep was a semi-disguise
it was all about the same torn-up place nevertheless

“Halep ordaysa”
if Aleppo is there
“Arşın da burda”
here too is Arşın


. . .

with the silence of corpses
my no longer-intact heart
screamed on top of its lungs

if Aleppo is there

where on earth is humanity?


© hülya n. yılmaz (January 15, 2017)

~ ~ ~

This poem was my contribution to the Aleppo anthology by Inner Child Press. Publication pending.


Filed under Poetry, Weekend Reflections

. . .


We all have two lives. The second one begins when you realize you only have one. 


Filed under Impulses

“…be a break from life…”

i want my poetry to

burn tears in your hearts
then bring them to the surface
before you decide you’d better cave in
to the pain and suffering etched ever so resiliently
in your past, present and future memories
when it’s time to have that wail explode
letting out that desperately patient standby “enough!”

i want my poetry to ease you then
into the arms of a selfless child-bearer
whose lullaby will tuck you in safely
under a snuggle-obsessed blanket-sleep
after having raised you from a darkest deep
together with the gentlest touch of other souls
which learned to utter only the tongue of love
their aura will entice you into a burial ground of ashes
where to lay to rest your ire and your innermost fears
to shed all your chains to be free of also the tears
which have been fiercely carved on earth
on its every hidden nook and cranny
since the birth of humanity

. . . be a break from life . . .

i want my poetry to weld with steel
the vital holes on your pails so frail
for you to be on your steadfast way
to flood in the universe with no delay
its tamest of waters on nature’s path
will gather for you to help you cleanse
your self-unforgiving self foremost
but won’t let you once forget all else
which you may have cursed in wrath
they will amass for you serene drops of bliss
to bathe under each the bitter ghosts of your ills
chafing away your immense boulder’s mass
for a modest few little whiles at last

. . . be a break from life . . .

i want my poetry to hold your hand
every time you must weather a storm
so that you know i too have been marred
the craftiest kind left me barren with all its might
hail rushed and wedded bloodcurdling thunders
lightening was only watching from afar at first
but then it exalted their union in a raucous roar
even snow flurries of my most loyal delight
showered the procession in a sliest twist

. . . be a break from life . . .

i want my poetry to waft you in the end
inside a cloud that is mate to the mild zephyr
to undiscovered lands as well to the Seven Seas
to the faraway councils of breath-taking skies
to the communes on the many luminous moons
to the cometic homes of ancient curiosities
in pursuit of the suns of the Egyptians
of the Hindu the Chinese the Japanese
of the Greek the Aztec the African
of the Navajo the Inca the Inuit
of the Sumerian the Roman

even though i don’t sing of elation alone . . .

© hülya n. yılmaz, 11.2.2016

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dear Gail Weston Shazor: I am afraid of heights. With you, I wouldn’t mind standing on top of a cliff. Because you instilled that much trust in me since the first time we met in the virtual world. That bright smile of yours I get to see whenever I drop in on our shared social media platforms, the love for life your every word reflects in each of your posts, all your comments and announcements, the genuine tone of attachment to the art of poetry in every segment of your poems and many other traits of you have given me such confidence in you long ago. No matter how rarely we communicate in this or that manner, a lifetime friend is what I saw and continue to see in you. But then again, I had the wonderful opportunity to read at least one of your books of poetry quite up close. Thank you, sweet Gail, for this memorable project, i want my Poetry to . . . a collection of the Voices of Many inspired by . . . Monte Smith. Yet another publication by Inner Child Press, Ltd. that tirelessly continues to take the lead in spreading the poetic word.


Filed under Weekend Reflections

. . .

“Someone I loved gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.”Mary Oliver


The Butterfly Queen by Sarah Moore
& A feminine approach to healing


Filed under Impulses

(…no befitting title…)

Don’t be afraid to be confused. Try to remain permanently confused.

George Saunders (b. 1958) ~

CT george_saunders02.jpg

[Free Online Image]

[The following reflection is mine only and should not be associated with the author the quote above comes from.]

Are we all aware of the unwritten demands on us on a daily basis at all the possible levels a human being is known to exist in? Let me clarify the demands I am thinking about: Having to strip off of our personal needs, concerns and work-and family-related responsibilities -to the best that we can- in order to actively contribute to the well-being of other world-occupants. As a caring member of the largest society of all times we call “humanity”, I am utterly confused about how to balance those infamously insufficient 24 hours to honor also those commands. But, I know that I will always be happy to be confused about such surface dilemma. As for my own expectations from my self to make at least a slight difference for the good of humanity, I doubt that confusion will ever settle in with me.


Filed under Weekend Reflections

. . .

i fail to feel like a woman
as her again i let only you make out of me
the luster of my womanhood is long gone
pity! you were to me the forbidden one

© hülya n. yılmaz, 2.5.2017


Filed under Impulses

“The art of life is to stay […]

wide open and be vulnerable,” Ram Dass declares in one of his (probably well-known) statements, and adds: “yet at the same time to sit with the mystery and the awe and be with the unbearable pain- to just be with it all. I’ve been growing into that wonderful catchphrase, ‘be here now,’ for the last forty years.”

Eagerly, I take Dass’ words as an advice worth to treasure through my persistent struggles to accept life “as is” because his vision is fully legible to me: living having been conceived as a continuum, not as finality.

Dedicated to all the advice-bearers who are unaware that no individual reaches the same state of existence on the timeline of -to sugarcoat it- difficult moments.  

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Filed under Weekend Reflections