Cities Enlightenment

Listening to Istanbul

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I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed:
At first there is a gentle breeze
And the leaves on the trees
Softly sway;
Out there, far away,
The bells of water-carriers unceasingly ring;

 

 I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed:

At first there is a gentle breeze

And the leaves on the trees

Softly sway;

Out there, far away,

The bells of water-carriers unceasingly ring;

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

                                                                             

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed;

Then suddenly birds fly by,

Flocks of birds, high up, with a hue and cry,

While the nets are drawn in the fishing grounds

And a woman’s feet begin to dabble in the water.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

 

 

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

The Grand Bazaar’s serene and cool,

An uproar at the hub of the Market,

Mosque yards are full of pigeons.

While hammers bang and clang at the docks

Spring winds bear the smell of sweat;

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

 

 

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed;

Still giddy from the revelries of the past,

A seaside mansion with dingy boathouses is fast asleep.

Amid the din and drone of southern winds, reposed,

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

A pretty girl walks by on the sidewalk:

Four-letter words, whistles and songs, rude remarks;

Something falls out of her hand –

It is a rose, I guess.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.


I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

A bird flutters round your skirt;

On your brow, is there sweet? Or not ? I know.

Are your lips wet? Or not? I know.

A silver moon rises beyond the pine trees:

I can sense it all in your heart’s throbbing.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed. 

 

 

 

*The poem Listening to Istanbul is by Orhan Veli Kanik. All Photos are the Work of Stephanie Cate

Stephanie Cate
Stephanie Cate is the Executive Director of the Batonga Foundation, a non-profit organization that focuses on expanding educational opportunities for vulnerable adolescent girls in Africa. Stephanie has been working for the Foundation since early 2008 and is in direct contact with Batonga’s program partners working in Benin, Mali, Cameroon, Ethiopia, and Sierra Leone. Through her work at the Batonga Foundation, Stephanie has collaborated with partners including USAID, the World Bank, and the Peace Corps to develop programs and discuss best practice strategies and initiatives involving girls’ education in Africa. She has also participated in events and conferences in the US and abroad in order to help Batonga highlight the need for advocacy for the importance of girls’ secondary school and higher education. Stephanie has a BA in Political Science and Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MA in International Development with a focus on global health, education, and gender issues from American University’s School of International Service

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