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.
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?
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.