August Istanbul

destined to melt

between mosque and market—

cobble-sore feet, sizzling

döner-grill heat


we drape treasure shops

breathless, swept tea-tide

of scarf hawkers, sea-glare


then from prayer call

to thunder crack, sky blacks—

brief deluge on fountain square

unwilts us, rejoicing like tulips

42 thoughts on “August Istanbul

  1. Colorful walk through Istambul thanks to this beautiful poem, I especially like the final comparison, if I remember well, the “tulip period” is a historic era during the Ottoman Empire… inspiring, as usual! thank you Jennifer 🙂


    1. I did do a little reading on tulips. I didn’t know (before) that they were so strongly associated with Turkey & the Ottoman Empire. The things you learn through poetry. 🙂


  2. Love this. You brought Istanbul alive for me again. Although I visited in a cold March, and it rained the whole of the last day so I can’t relate to un-wilting in quite the same way, but I could see you perking up after a little light drizzle.


    1. Weather has such an effect on our enjoyment–and our memories–doesn’t it? I was afraid this would be too specific to my own experience and not generally evocative enough. Thanks for your comment!


  3. Beautiful imagery. I’ve never been to Istanbul. I travelled to Asia recently, and saw the biggest, most beautiful tulip flowers. Istanbul wasn’t exactly close, but your poem reminded me of them anyhow.


    1. Thanks, Marcy. I haven’t been to Morocco, either, but I imagine there must be many cultural similarities, and maybe physical ones as well.


    2. If I’d had enough words, I would have included the cats! My husband said there were also loads of cats wandering around in Morocco when he was there.


  4. I have always wanted to visit Istanbul. You captured the hustle bustle of how I imagine it to be perfectly – doner-grill heat and breathlessness summing that up best (for me). I almost felt refreshed at the end when the skies opened – sounds like a shower was just what was needed! See, there you go – you got me with this one! Great job!


  5. I love the rhythm of this piece, the way it sort of tumbles along effortlessly. The lowercase helps that, too, I think. What beautiful imagery. I’ve never been to Istanbul, or Marrakech for that matter, but for some reason it makes me think of what I imagine Marrakech to be. Very evocative!


    1. I bet Marrakech would be similar in a lot of ways. What an interesting comment about the lowercase…I am going to study that. 🙂


        1. Wow! Thanks for the link and great story! One of the friends whom we spent time with in Istanbul is originally from Saudi Arabia. His stories of growing up there are fascinating.


  6. Beautiful! I spent five hours – a long layover – in Istanbul in 2005 or so, and it was just like that, brief deluge and all. I love the way you combine words (“tea-tide,” “sea-glare”). Just lovely all around.


    1. Maybe those kinds of deluges happen once a week, and that’s why the locals seemed so nonchalant? Thanks for your kind words. I appreciate it!


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