Tag Archives: Turkey


emerging from their cocoons…

 Rebetiko is the urban blues of the old port areas of the Eastern Mediterranean – Smyrna/Izmir, Istanbul, Syros, Piraeus, and Thessaloniki. If you happen to be in London, you can listen to this soulful music most Monday evenings at the JCR of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, lovingly performed by members of the SOAS Rebetiko Band. SOAS Rebetiko emerged out of  music seminars organized by Ed Emery. It is a free event, you only need to sign-in as a visitor at the School entrance/Porter’s desk.

This year, a new event is being organzed by the rebet lovers: The Rebetiko Carnival.

Check it out, and if you can go, go!


NaHaiWriMo prompt: Effort

The Tree (Haibun)

The Tree

Sitting under a mulberry tree by the sea, in Alexandroupolis, Greece, near the border with Turkey, I stare across the sparkling water. A melancholy mood is sapping my energy. The ferry to Samothraki makes me wish to travel further on, but I know I’ve come far enough. This place, at the intersection of continents, symbolizes the crossroads in my own life, leaving behind my youth and entering middle age. I need a push, something to give me strength to take the next step.

I must have fallen asleep because when I come to dusk is falling like rain. I rub my eyes. The town lights flicker simultaneously with their reflections on the water. The notes of a flute pierce the air.

I muse about the times this town has passed between the Bulgarians, the Greeks, the Turks, the Russians; shudder at the thought of how much blood has been spilled. And yet humanity continues, the spirit survives whoever the ruler, whatever the belief. I realize the smallness of my own problem, the disease of vanity and self-preoccupation.

A crow lands next to me. We eye each other for a minute or two, then he flies away. Feeling a sense of acceptance wash over me, I walk to my Pension. The hostess noticing the lifting of my mood offers me a theory about what happened.

“It must have been the dervish, the Holy man of the fifteenth century,” she says. “He spent his days under a tree… he is buried there…”

“They buried him under his tree?”

“They say he still heals those who go to sit under it.”

“Is that the Mulberry tree…?” I start, trying to locate ‘my’ tree for her.

She shrugs, and then I know it does not matter.


in the salty air

a single leaf from his book –

dove with crow

In Contemporary Haibun Online, January 2012