The black gulls Suadiye’nin

The black gulls Suadiye’nin

I stand by the sea
near the Bosporus shore,
a land of shadows dark.
   Behind,
the leaves crinkled with frost
   crackle and toss,
bringing back years forgotten or lost.
But I now look ahead
   into the night,
avert my eyes from days
   once shining bright.

   Beyond,
the shore is silent,
covered deep in fog.
The black gulls of Suadiye
   darkening the sky
fly through my mind,
vanishing in mist, leaving me behind.
Without regret, I watch them go,
as I gaze inward from below.

Here by the Bosporus,
the edge of a continent,
   I quietly wait.
If I were young I’d see through the haze
   my future bright.
But November has come
   and already it’s late.
Now beyond the divide:
just the breath of fate.
Gently the tide goes out;
   it also pulls me.
Before long this body will merge
   to sea,
and thought alone
will sail the Bosporus free.

The black gulls that fill my sight
   are from another time.
Their sharp beaks tear my flesh;
   but I do not mind.
It’s peaceful now, the water calm,
   the fog about to lift.
Soon I’ll make my crossing slow,
leave aside all things –
   beating my wings
like the black gulls Suadiye’nin.

– Chidananda Burke.
Suadiye, Istanbul Nov. 2006
(Note: ‘Suadiye’nin’ is the possessive form of Suadiye in Turkish)

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