Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Turkish Mey

In Istanbul just down from Taksim Square
I bought a mey. Have you heard the sound 
of the mey? It is rich, deep and melancholy
it is indigo rising mysteriously

from the throat of the earth easing from caverns.
The notes flecked with ochre hover over
the stream which flows into the river through
the ruins of Olympos, then to the sea.

It is the voice of Kayakoy caressing
the ossuary and the bones of the homes
in the abandoned town. It rises through
the honeycomb of caves in Cappadocia,

up through the lonely churches like dispensed
incense, up through the floors of underground
cities, mingling with the echoes of emotion
spent before Ottoman, before Mohammed,

before Christ, before Augustus and Apollo.
It is the soundtrack of history, the tit for tat
atrocities, the death marches of Armenian, Greek;
the massacres of Turks. It aches in smoky

mellifluous blues. Listen! It rises now
over Taksim like a portentous djin.
I took my mey back and exchanged the reed;
The reed is the key to the Turk within.

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