Tom Simard

Poetry, Music, and Prose

Archive for the tag “The United States”

Sketch 8: Descent

This particular poem deals with an image from my grandmother’s funeral. I’ve always thought smell to be my most acute sense so it’s not surprising that incense should be an important part of my memory. A single smell can easily transport me back in time.

My grandmother was Catholic, and Catholicism was very important to her generation, defining them in a way it never did me. But then again, I lived in different times – a Catholic would soon become president of the United States, and it had been a long time since No Irish Need Apply signs were seen. When I visited relatives in Ireland, and they took me to the rubble that remained of my grandmother’s house, they also brought me to a landmark where Catholics used to secretly meet to worship when the religion had been outlawed. I was asked, “How would your parents feel if you married a Protestant?”

Although titles for me are more often than not a necessary evil, I do like this one and the double meaning of descent.

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Istanbul

While I’ve traveled widely in the United States, Canada, and Europe, I’ve only just stepped into Asia:

775px-OldBosphorus_colorized

Istanbul is a city with a mood:

The Blue Mosque

Agia-sofia

Cistern(Photographer: Moise Nicun)

The decorative tiles are stunning:

Topkapi_Palace_(6526101629) by David Stanley

G.dallorto2(Photographer: G.dallorto)

Georges Jansoone(Photographer: Georges Jansoone)

Salep is something to savor.

And if you’re like me and have got a sweet tooth, you’ll not be disappointed:

Yasinuslu34(Photographer Yasiunuslu34)

elif ayse

(Photographer: elif ayse)

Loukoumades

Visit the Grand Bazaar:

grandbazaar Dmgulteken(Photographer: Dmgulteken)

And the Spice Bazaar:

800px-Istanbul_spice_bazaar_02(Photographer: Takeaway)

And by all means haggle.  I’m not particularly comfortable doing so, but it is expected and somewhat of a game. Any misgivings you have should disappear if you realize not doing so will mean paying considerably more than what’s expected.

Turkish hospitality if not famous should be.

Visiting the city made me want to explore other parts of the country as well. Top on the list would be CappadociaSmyrna, and Ephesus.

Since our visit I’ve read two books by Orhan Pamuk, both of which I liked, but Snow especially.  I found Mango’s book on Ataturk to be a great read.  Clot’s book on Suleiman the Magnificent and Crowley’s Constantinople: The Last Great Siege  are both excellent.

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