Ortaköy Mosque

Right on the waterfront,
Illustrating that even something light,
Full of froth, happily lapping all day long
Can be on edge
When faced with magnificence.

The mosque squats like a sultan’s
Private stamp, looking with one eye
Over a pretty square
With pretty lamps.
Lovers flock to the place;
So do the sea-worn

This is a spot for pondering beauty;
Measuring its absence.
Not from the scene where it is plentiful
But from somewhere
More secluded.
The mosque is an ingot
In an old-fashioned
Market scale, ready to balance
The dark and hard and terrible rock
That sits inside.

The rock of soul-death.
The rock of dry tears.
The rock shaped like the eye
Of sad, lonely, cursed

Beyond the mosque is a bridge -
Drawn in the air -
Daring to straddle the Bosphorus.

Hassan Abdulrazzak

Ortaköy Mosque is in Istanbul. The photograph was taken by Guliz Hizirgoglu

If you've any comments on this poem, Hassan Abdulrazzak would be pleased to hear from you.