This chair where I spend the day
was still a young tree,
and these rocks beneath my feet
were underneath the mountain
when you came this way.
The shadow that protects me from the sun
had not yet found its form
when you were born.
When you built this house of stones,
I was a curious lad and watched you.
And I learned as I followed along.
Although I never learned your song.
When you made wine
you always shared it with me,
After a glass or two you’d say,
“Ali, this will be yours one day.”
I remember how you broke and carried
the stones that formed these walls you painted white.
And window bars you forged from damask steel and painted blue
as I would do,
were I you.
Then Brother Time came by and made his presence,
And Sister Changes also strolled our way,
Nothing stays, not even what our wishing rearranges,
Or even if we pray and pray.
And you were taken far, so far away.
Time always flies away…
And I grow old a little more each day,
And now I live inside my recollections,
sitting in the shadows, watching passers by.
Before my eyes I see only reflections
of the sun against a wall that was so white.
The grapes have dried and so has my intention
of ever sharing with you homemade wine.
“Goodbye Ali, goodbye young man, do prosper.”
You waved and then a cloud covered my eyes,
To block my sight from all those who formed clusters
waving with their strong arms goodbye.
I think of you picking the grapes you treasured…
But now I sit alone,
only my walking cane beside me,
My shadow’s disappeared and
I feel the bitter sadness that surrounds me but I’ve never conjured tears,
You know, I never cry,
I don’t know why…
In the Aegean section of Turkey, after WWI and the Turkish war of Independence, the population was exchanged. The Greeks were sent to the Greek islands and the Turks who lived in Greece were sent to Turkey. Both populations were uprooted and many friends never saw each other again.