Saturday, July 05, 2008

Poem: Prayers in Istanbul

On a dusty cobblestone street
I hear three muezzins
In three directions

Call people to prayer
At three mosques,
With a slight delay

Between the calls.
Three chanters in three different rooms
Sing the same song

In phase-shifted rounds
Through nine silver speakers

Mounted on three
Ivory-white minarets
Capped in gleaming cerulean blue.

At the washing stations,
Water splashes from brass spigots
Into pale grey limestone basins.

The faithful wash,
Bag their sandals,
And for the fourth time since dawn,

Walk onto the lush carpet
Of the cool quiet mosque
Tiled in words and symbols.

They kneel, face the wall
And pray one more time.
I don’t know what they pray for,

But when I see their faces
And watch their devotions,
I know it’s something good.

It’s so still and calm
In the mosque,
You could hear a fly expire.

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