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Syndic Literary Journal

Handmade Histories

Written in English by Pelin Batu

Narrated by Bill Wolak


All I can hear now

against the damp walls of Salacak

are voices of  my relatives

like flowers on Russian scarves,

and requiems of Akhmatova,

hollowed for roses and cypresses

the bygone.


All that is past is far more vivid

in these crowded rooms.


I learn

how an old woman waited for her son

like a wounded beast,

as the prison guards stood

colder than statues,

no language of birds

on their narrow lips.


I learn

how with the verdant memory of wilder times

one does not hate

one does not love.

It becomes a gentle rain

letting us speak

a language of calm adjectives.


It is no tragedy, to have no story to tell.

Boats slide up and down the Bosphorus

the gigantic pendulums of my slow life.

I come to prefer yesterday

its succulent spoils.

I listen.


Pelin Batu is a Turkish poet, actor, and writer currently living in Istanbul. She has published five books of poetry, produced many works of translation, and made numerous cinema films and TV shows.



Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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