Monday, October 22, 2007


Maybe this bench made you naturally to think about waiting and sitting, no? However, you are not right guessing this time;)

Sitting and waiting. It is what we do in our lives.

We spend our lives waiting:

We wait until Friday - because it connects to weekend:)
We wait payday -because of our bills;)
We wait Christmasday.
We wait for a spouse, then children, after that grandchildren.
We wait in grocery lines.

We wait for our hopes to realize.

We wait at traffic lights -oh no, reaaally terrible thing in Istanbul's traffic!

We wait... and wait...

Sure, it's the hardest thing to do!

In the park where I live close by, there are many ''Poem Benches'' like the one above. They are not ''empty'' benches:) It's written poems from outstanding Turkish poets on each one of them. These kind of park poem benches are very good to inspire and make you think about what it means to be a member of the human race. By just spending a few minutes reading any poem (Turkish: Siir) on the bench whilst sitting, so I believe that new worlds can be revealed.

As we all know the fact that many people never read a poem once they get out of high school. Honestly saying that I was also the one who never interested in reading poems until my 30's -maybe it caused because I've always studied science and math, then business life technical-sided. Later on, the years passing on, I realized that poems are really necessary to a world in which saying things to one another, and even communing to our own selves. It's a good sign that I'm growing up little by little:)

My mother tells me that there was a usual activity in the past: to sit around the fireside in the evening and read poems. It's true that there was no television at that times, nor movie theathers, nor internet access, to provide world diversion. Reading poems was a social act. Writing poems to share with friends and relations was a place in everyday life.

''This hour I tell things in confidence,

I might not tell everybody, but I will tell you.''

by Walt Whitman, ''Song of Myself''

I would like to underline that poetry can be a part of our daily lives even today. Because poems are a vital source of pleasure, of self-education and to the world beyond one's own community. The poem is the refuge of saying, and also the sole remaining place where the self can talk with itself and about the things which matter.

The poem written on the bench above, in Turkish Memleketimi Seviyorum by Nazim Hikmet Ran (Born: Thessaloniki, Greece 1901-Death: Moscow 1963). As the first and foremost modern Turkish poet, he is known around the world as one of the greatest international poets of the twentieth century. He tells how great his love about Turkey pointing out for many details in his poem; now here it's in english:

~I Love My Country
(Turkish: Memleketimi Seviyorum)
My country:
Bedreddin, Sinan, Yunus Emre and Sakarya

lead domes and factory chimneys

are all the work of my people

who even hiding from themselves

smile under their drooping mustaches.

My country:

My country is so large,

it seems that it is endless to go around.
Edirne, Izmir, Ulukisla, Marash, Trabzon, Erzurum

I know the Erzurum plateau only in its songs

and I am ashamed

not to have crossed Tauruses even once
to go to the cotton pickers in the south.

My country:

camels, train, Fords and donkeys,

pine forests, best freshwaters and the lakes

at the top of the mountains.

Silver skin swims in the Abant Lake of Bolu.

My country:
goats on the Ankara plain:

the sheen of blond, silky, long furs

the fat plump hazelnuts of Giresun.
the fragrant red-cheeked apples of Amasya

olive, fig, melon
and all colors of
bunches and bunches of grapes

and then: ready to accept

advanced, beautiful and good
with the joyous admiration of a child

my hard-working, honest, brave people



I'm not the one who think that a poem has nothing to tell us. However, I wonder what can you do well without poems?


  1. You are amazing.You have such a sensitive way to fell the wonderful complexity of life.
    Poems are the youth of our souls. How can we live without them? Sad, alone and poor.
    Thank you Nihal for your words.
    XX, Sma

  2. I love poetry. I love to try and write it because it makes it possible for my heart to say things that my fingers are writing down on paper. I love reading poetry. I would love to visit the poem benches. That would be amazing to me. connie from Texas

  3. Poem benches! what a great idea..I should encourage my City Hall to do something like that. Please do post as much picutres as possible about Poem benches!! loved it.

  4. @ Frieda: Nice to hear that you'd encourage your City Hall to do similar ones like ours. Regarding your request, let me tell that all of the poem benches in the park are just the same with the one appearing here. The poems written on the benches vary from one to another bench that's the onliest difference. It's different poems from different legendary Turkish poets. So I do not think to post any more pictures. Can't wait to see your ''new'' inspiring poem benches in your area on your Blog someday soon:) Let me know pls.