the giggles that tickle
the snickers that ickle
complicitly picking apart
my complacent hush

the sweets that abound
tiny feet that surround me
bravely rushing o’er
flowers and brush

much more to be found
through the door they do bound
there must be some
hidden inside as well

there’s never enough
of this chocolatey stuff
for my feral weans
racing pell mell

there is still time

there is still time, you see
for sunlight to scintillate falcons
floating hungrily through the air
for probing fingers to trace perfect
shamrocks over freshly dented grass

for teasing boys to giggle
at dancing curl-lipped monkeys
for girls in garlands of daisies
to dream of shining pots of gold
at the end of every rainbow

for mysteries to entice us
in meadows blossoming carousels
of poppies and prancing ponies
and choruses of hopping sparrows
eagerly adoring them in song

there is still time, my love
for moonbeams to murmur us
whole, breathing blissful melodies
while hearth fires cast our shadows
flowing like waves on the wall

[Inspired once more–you’ll begin to wonder if I have an authentic bone in the body of this would-be poet. But I can’t help myself. This morning I have been reading here of sun and the dark before dawn and moonbeams, and I cannot help but follow these inspiring words and images shared by your truly inspiring voice.]

A few photos I took in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, back when I was still young and unabashedly romantic and hopeful. (May 1987)

Inbhir Nis (“Inverness”)

we did nae see the monster
but of course, we were nae expecting to

Loch Ness was simply a site
we had tae see, monster or no

we wandered the kirkyard of St Stephen’s
crying names frae centuries past

peering through cracks in the stanes
tracing fingers along the Celtic crosses

we indulged in the increasingly traditional fare
of pizza an’ the best Indian food we’d ever had

an’ of course we rode aroon the loch
an’ visited cairns an’ castles grand

the sun did nae appear oft, no much
an’ e’en that was tae be expected

aye, the chill was there to tame us
an’ the road north to John o’ Groats beckoned

but for a few days I could wish for
nothing more than the roads of Inverness

an’ the certain knowledge that
whate’er else besides might await me

I was home again at last in Scotland
an’ the Highlands were ey mine

it isna gold

He stood at the foot of the steps
that rise precipitately up from Grassmarket
to the crags that cradle the castle.

My curious wife heard him first,
sat on the sill of the window
glancing down to watch him bray.

“It isna silver, ye fools!” he declared.
“It isna ’boot gold, do ye hear me?”
And he danced from foot to foot.

The sun disappeared behind envious
clouds glowering insatiably down
at the oblivious shoppers of Edinburgh.

The angry Dundonian stared above
and grew still, his feet barely shuffling
as the castle imperious looked on.

“Ehl no lie, no me. No, no, no, no.
Wha’s fer Joe. It isna gold, isna silver.
Twa pehs fer Joe. Twa pehs, ain pint.”

A young tourist, “Here you go, Joe,”
dropped the angry old man a quid
with an embarrassed smile at his feet.

“Ehm no Joe!” he objected, and I
thought there were tears in his voice
as he moved back, staring at the castle.

“Twa pehs, ain pint,” he whimpered,
glaring at the Union Jack flapping above.
“A’ fer Joe. A’ fer oor bairn.”

Grassmarket from our apartment window (May 2015)

ain = one
bairn = child
’boot = about
Ehl = I’ll
Ehm = I’m
fer = for
isna = isn’t
oor = our
pehs = pies
twa = two

the music they adore

my weans whisper hopeful sounds
playfully panting giggling
as the chanter croaks in response
and i love it

how could i not adore this
having longed for ages for the art
to breathe rhythmic wonder
into hollow wood

i have sat in awe time and again
while acquaintances of old
have performed for gatherings
of family, friends

nothing so formal as would call
one man a patron, another a star
but for me it was all so magical
a dream to trace

laya, asena, laura, mark, halil, tuǧcan
i have in silence admired you all
for so very long with sweet memories
of your own music

i would my children should grow
wise and bold and even foolish
taking chances others might refuse
to discover themselves

i would have them be happy
beyond all measure of joy
and always imbued with the generous
gift of love

but more than this and all, please
may my beautiful weans all thrive
with hands hearts voices expressing
the music they adore

embracing what may be

marching eagerly she assaults the sea
like a proud eight-year-old warrior
intent on the mightiest conquest,
her tender tiny fists clenched
in brazenly hopeful defiance
cursing the world weary waves

on and on they roll relentless
in their time indifferent course
obeying a lusty lunar deity
rising so unlike her ancient solar
form flesh desiccating master
the pitiless all-seeing sun

see how newborn Ramesses she
stands boldly alone against
the terrible Hittite hordes
on the bloody plains of Qadesh
casting pebbles into legions
that undulate with her pleasure

but surely sleekly simple stones
are not enough, she must see
not enough are they the waves
to defeat as if mere feeble foes.
no, she must now turn back
the very onslaught she endures

and as I grinning whimsical watch
my daughter’s so daring feats
I see waves about her begin to roil
as she seething flings her arms
back and forth seeking to force
the very tide to retreat before her

and I am in awe of this undaunted she
as an expiring voice meekly argues,
waste not your effort, silly dear.
but I silence this fool quickly indeed
for I would not have her cease
her efforts for any of his truths

she generous endows mellowed me
with vivacious visions of life
enabling me too to see as she
to embrace such distant maybes
rather than bow before austerity
and each moldering maturely no

and this being so…

why should I bow before expectations
not impartially imposed by others
and my life bend theirs to follow?
so that thus may I be acknowledged
a decent man like any of my lot
who are also unlikely to disappoint?

or dare I court nonconformity
casting slippery stones at sullen seas
shedding skins of scaly wisdom
and love embrace, though my beloved
I may not touch for an hour yet
or a day or even forty days hence?

purposeful I step along the shore
and raise my arms to assist her
confidently knowing that it is not
those easily attainable goals we seek
that do compose the nature of us
and establish truly who we are

rather in our finest moments
are we the spirits of flesh seeking
one another despite expectation,
self-composed of ideals and needs
and striving for what most futile seems—
it is these impossibilities that define us

Çeşme, Turkey 05 July 2012

Asena laughing and playing against the waves

Asena’s golf class

I’m so proud of my little one. I’ve avoided encouraging her into any particular sport. I love to exercise, and I have persuaded her to do yoga with me. And in turn, she has offered to teach me karate. But when it comes to the question of a competitive sport, I figure I’ll let her make her own path. Choose something only if she loves it. And wouldn’t you know it? She chose to follow in my father’s footsteps and play golf. That’s my girl! For more pictures, click on the photo below.

Asena takes a shot