i am the reed

i am the reed that quietly grows
along the bank
for years i sweetly swayed
with the wind
until a blade slashed my being
and i despaired
holes were zealously bored
into my drying skin
i felt this shell of existence
precisely impaired

but then lips caressed me
and eager fingers
played across my surface
and suddenly
there was life within me again
a voice
that was not truly the player’s
but my own
a sound of longing that was
clearly me

for years i stood along the banks
and said nothing
touch me again my beloved
and breathe
your breath searches my being
filling my desire
breathe into this instrument
and make it sing
breathe and feel this flesh
evoke the stars

2011.09.21 SLC.Ney Practice

my struggling attempts to learn the ney


Yeniliğe Doğru

I find as the years have passed that time teases me to tremble with needs, with desires, with fears, seldom allowing me to treasure a moment of true peace. But through a blessed heart, through the love of another, I have at least discovered how joyous such peace can be. It was in gratitude for this blessed gift of peace that I wished to share these videos and images I captured near Çeşme in Turkey, accompanied by the beautiful and hopeful sounds led by one of the greatest voices in Turkish music, Sezen Aksu.

It occurs to me that a translation might help, although I could never do justice to the verses of the master Mevlana:

Her gün bir yerden göçmek ne iyi
How good it is to move from a place everyday

Bulanmadan donmadan akmak ne hoş
How fine it is to flow unsullied, unfrozen

Her gün bir yere konmak ne güzel
How beautiful it is to come to rest somewhere everyday

Bulanmadan donmadan akmak ne hoş
How fine it is to flow unsullied, unfrozen

Dünle beraber
Along with yesterday

Gitti cancağızım
my love has gone

Şimdi yeni bir şeyler
Now new things

Söylemek lazım
must be said

Ne kadar söz varsa
However many words may be

Düne ait
they belong to yesterday

Şimdi yeni bir şeyler
Now new things

Söylemek lazım
must be said

Playing with the Wind

Not been easy, finding the right place to play my ney since coming back here to Turkey (especially here in Çeşme, such a windy location). Which is funny, since this is the homeland of my ney. In which case, what possessed me to play the ney in something like a Celtic lament? Ah, the mysteries of travelling. It’s not so much that you never know what you’ll find when you get there. Rather, you never quite know what you’ll find in YOU once you get there. That’s one of the things I love most about travelling. How it teaches you about yourself.

Ney: Empty Nest


I’ve been watching the nest of sparrows outside the kitchen window, observing how quickly they grow. They were gone this morning. Which made me think of my daughter, and how quickly she is growing. How quickly time is passing. So I started playing. The beginning of this I adopted from a Rast Makamı, but then for the rest I just sort of … played whatever I felt like.

Ney: Gazing at the Center

I’ve been listening to a piece a fair bit lately entitled Segah Peşrevi, and I would really like to learn how to play this piece. But not being able to read music is a bit of an obstacle. So this is about as far as I’ve gotten trying to copy the sounds while watching a neyzen’s fingers moving over the stops of his ney. And when I ran out of notes, when I couldn’t follow him anymore, I just started playing somewhat random notes, another tune that was going through my head. As for the images, they are photos I’ve taken at different mosques in Turkey. Seemed to fit my mood somehow.