Forgiveness from the Bosphorus

The blue waters are blinding my sight.

My father, the Emperor, try as he might

couldn’t defeat Fate for she acts

as she pleases. Even our tower lacks

the power to buy time. Said the oracle,

“She’ll die at 18. Quite a spectacle.”

Father in his boundless love built

a majestic prison to stop my wilt.

If only he embraced life, its turns,

I’d be at peace with what Fate spurns.

If only I’d been allowed to walk

on land with others, to love, to talk,

the inevitable bite of this asp may

not have been as torturously gray. 

Sitting across Kız Kulesi, the Maiden’s Tower, I tried to imitate the way my Turkish friend ate ayçekirdeği, sunflower seeds, skillfully and quickly. Hours had passed since midnight. During one of our conversations, she described to me the legend encircling the Tower in front of us. It was my first time in Üsküdar, an area of Istanbul that was serene and magical. Just like the legend. 

Sitting across the Maiden's Tower

Sitting across the Maiden’s Tower

An Emperor had acted upon a prophecy – his daughter would be bitten by a poisonous snake – by isolating her in a tower in the middle of the Bosphorus Strait. Little did he know that he’d one day bring her a gift basket in which the snake had taken refuge. I tried to imagine the Maiden’s last thoughts as the venom brought her closer to death. Despite the fact that her father’s actions were guided be a desire to protect her, would she be able to forgive him for depriving her the right to live among people? Would she be able to forgive him for her solitude? Did she have enough time to ponder upon the complexity of life, emotions, and forgiveness?

The majestic Maiden's Tower

The majestic Maiden’s Tower

As the New Year starts, I hope we can appreciate the importance of forgiveness. A shattered hope. A broken heart. A rejection from your dream school. A loved one lost to illness. A decision you regret. Let it go, before it overtakes your happiness, before it leeches off your present life. I recently read a book that began with the following quote:

Difficult as it is to forgive, I believe we carry the capacity in our hearts to do so. Wishing you a year filled with peace.


4 thoughts on “Forgiveness from the Bosphorus

  1. Iman says:

    Such a beautiful poem that truly does the story justice!

    I love that you talk about forgiveness. A couple of weeks ago, our Imam at our masjid gave a khutbah about the importance of forgiveness. Everyone should make learning to forgive quickly one of their New Year’s resolutions or a life goal in general!

    Happy New Year, habibti!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shukran kteer, Iman! For your wonderful comments as usual and for sharing the detail about the khutbah. Indeed, forgiveness is crucial for our health and for our relationships with others. Happy New Year to you too! 🙂


  3. theleobook says:

    I found your blog by chance and for sure checked out your images from Istanbul, where I’ve also been during my trip around the world last December. So many memories, so many places I’ve also been. Looking forward to more images and blog entries!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! It means a lot to me that you were able to connect with my pictures and my blog. Istanbul is surely an unforgettable city. I checked out your website as well and wow, I loved it. I look forward to hearing more about your trip in India. Keep travelling!


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