Wednesday, May 28, 2014

POEM: Baglama in a Dark Cafe

He sits, proud and dark, a lonely prophet
In a nearly abandoned cafe in Istanbul.
A baglama rests on his knee, and restless fire
In his fingers and his heart.
There is poetry in his hands, only his hands,
And his many words are hungry,
And lonely, and sweet;
And he plays yesterday's sadness,
Today's too, and tomorrow's longing.

He lifts his broken heart to the hills,
With his fingers, and calls to unseen lovers,
With his fingers, and praises his God for life,
Broken and holy, human and divine, 
With his fingers.

And his are the poems of a thousand tired dreamers
And a thousand weary workers and all 
The lovers who will run to love tonight.

It's a language I sometimes understand,
And tonight, just a bit, in this cafe;
And I hear in his fingers a dozen muezzins 
Announcing in their urgent verses the time
For prayer and devotion to God.

And I hear in his fingers the still free voices
Of happy children playing football in the park,
Thankfully unaware of their grandparents'
Grievances and terrible wars 
Even now in the works.

And I hear in the fingers of this prophet
Something like the sound of my own longing:
To fly even tonight to the One who first
Imagined and still imagines all this beauty,
To rest in Her arms as a child who needs
Not the hostilities of empires and armies,
But only music and love and peace. 
Syrian Refugees Pray for Peace: Istanbul 5.24.14