Over the city of Istanbul
A bird circles
And moans in the moonlight:
Perhaps it has come from the strait of Bosphorus
From the port of “Roman Poplar”
Near the stone Russian fort
Where, today at noon
A band of argonauts:
Three brothers and four sisters
Sat at the four corners of a vast table
Under a half-cloudy sky
And ordered swordfish and Alexander kebabs
With yoghurt drinks and fruit sherbet.
They gathered together
From the four corners of the world
So that after the death of their Father of Fathers
They could regain the beauty of their childhood
In a place close to their homeland.
How beautiful were the sky and the sea,
The tall poplars and cherry blossoms,
The sharing of morsels among siblings
The Humming of a familiar song
From an old radio in the Kurdish cafe,
And a narrow path winding down to the port
Passing by pergolas full of flowers
Children’s seesaws and swings
And gift shops for travelers.
Then, they boarded the ship of Argo
(Which had returned from the voyage of Jason and the Argonauts
to the shores of Georgia
In search of the golden fleece),
And with the blessings of the blind prophet
They left the shore of the Black Sea
Drinking Turkish tea and watching beaches
Facing Europe with their backs to Asia.
Fearlessly led by the guiding bird
They passed through ship-wrecking rocks
And sailed the entire strait of Bosphorus
Anchoring at the port of Eminonu
South of the Golden Horn.
After buying a handful of roasted chestnuts
They strolled in the Egyptian spice bazaar
And visited Rostan Pasha mosque
Built by the Ottoman architect Sinan.
Riding two old, yellow dolmushes
They returned to the hotel near Galata tower
Saying “Guleh Guleh!” to the drivers
And hearing “Bon Voyage!” in response.
There, on the balcony
They saw their Mother of Mothers with white hair
Sleeping in her wheelchair in the moonlight
Dreaming of her lost son in Persia.
May 22, 2011