Monday, October 17, 2016
A baby is born… Poetry is born… Hope is born…
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Neshe Yashin, our famous poet has a grandson since last week and she writes a letter called "Welcoming speech for the newborn baby…" and shares it with us…
The baby's name is Bora Bulut and this is what Neshe writes:
"Welcome baby! We are all here. We came much earlier than you. Some of us were present here since a long time. You are still very new. You will learn soon to which sort of place you have arrived. We were waiting for you since some time. We were rather excited… When you came we became overjoyed. We gave you a name. We celebrated your coming. We hugged and wrapped you. Your mother and father who are the means of your coming here, their mothers and fathers, their relatives and friends are the ones who lived this pride most deeply. Your coming is happiness itself. A little miracle.
You will slowly start learning about this World. You will feel the tastes first, the touches. You will learn about warmth and cold. You will hear sounds; the soft and angry ones… You will start to distinguish goodness and evil from the voices… You will get to know colours… The shapes and textures… Countless surprises will come on your way… You will get to know the sun, the wind, the rain… The beauty of the trees, love of animals, smell of flowers… With every discovery your eyes will shine. You will learn words and to build a World with them.
You will get to know the feelings slowly. The pleasure of being loved, the void, the fear, the excitement, the sorrow of separation, the warmth of rejoining, the serenity of acceptance, the heart breaking of rejection… And you will learn all the delicacies and crudity. You will learn the language of glances, the melodies shaking the strings of the heart. You will also learn believing and disappointment; you will learn to be deceived and about betrayal. You will learn how to make dreams, to love, of affection and sacrifice… You will learn of friendship and love, trust and solidarity.
To tell the truth this World that we are welcoming you is not a place of much prize. It's a place that gives pain to children, ill-treats them, it is a place that watches their corpses hitting the shores. It's a place where children are left hungry, waterless and homeless. Where they are despised and insulted. It's a place children are taken to refuge roads and even shot down.
We still wished your coming here a lot. Because here is also a place where there are numberless beautiful people who wants to protect you from these. Never be afraid! You will grow up and learn about all aspects of the World. Maybe you will be one of those who will change and cure it. Who knows?
Welcome baby! Since you came everything looks better now. You have landed to the earth like a light making our hearts shine. You have filled us with heart stir, with a miraculous flow. You made us remember many feelings that we had forgotten before.
When we look at your innocence we now think that we can overcome the darkness in the World. The joy of life is fluttering inside us with your angel wings. You are like a gorgeous gift that came to us and we want to hug and smell you.
You will grow up… This will be a journey sometimes sweet and sometimes a bitter one. In spite of everything think how nice it is that you came here. Your coming is like the most special flower of our garden blossoming. Your coming is like the river of dreams flowing towards the heart. Your coming is the joy of the fresh spring rejoicing the heart. Your coming is the landing of innocence to the World.
How good that you came baby! Since we have a guest in our house we are trying to tidy up ourselves. We revisit a World that you are becoming a guest of.
Now it's your time… Tell us new things. Present us a mirror to watch ourselves. Takes us to the beginning point so that we can restart to advance in the right way.
Welcome baby! Here is the World!`
But Neshe in the last few weeks has another "baby" – her new book of poetry called "The Shivering Birds…"
Having written the verses "My country is divided into two/which part one should love?" Neshe continues her struggle for peace, her journey in poetry, the words she spells out that touches our hearts… Orestis Agisilaou goes to her poetry evening where her new book is introduced and where Neshe reads her poems…
Afterwards, Orestis writes his feelings about this new book, about the evening, about how culture should play a role in our lives… And he sends me the following article:
"Last night we gathered in a bar in Nicosia many Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to attend the presentation of the Neshe Yashin's new poetry book. It was a lovely meeting full of peace and culture in a great atmosphere hearing Neshe's poems. Neshe Yashin is a very romantic person who spent all her life at her art and fighting for her beliefs. Her art has become bridges which connect the two communities of Cyprus for years. Who cannot move to tears hearing the touching lyrics "My country has divided into two parts, which should I love?"
When the presentation finished, going back home in Larnaka, I was thinking and wondering how many people can combine both education and culture. Maybe we suffer from lack of culture? Maybe the thing that people mostly need is not actually only simple education but values and ideals which could carry at their whole life and could make them a better person? As community we tend to forget what respect, love and appreciation is. Day to day we become more and more cold bureaucracies focusing on our jobs and forgetting our values.
In my opinion the lack of culture that Cypriot community is also one main reason that the Cypriot problem is still unsolved. We haven't learned to hear the other, to respect him and to trust him. We have forgotten also what the word "share" means. In a few words we don't have substructures as society. And peace which is based in bad foundations is a failed peace.
People in order to be people and not only animals who speak, should become a poem. Poems for many people are some boring lyrics which they can understand with difficulty, but for many others poems are a way to thinking and to become a better person, with more culture learning its values.
So, Cyprus should become a become a poem that its lyrics would be the smile of Cypriot people, who they will be living away from wars, borders and hate. Ideal? Maybe...But it's good to fight for your ideals without caring about the results..."
Will Cyprus ever have a chance to become a poem as Orestis says?
Or shall we always live in a chaos created by the split of the country, our souls not touching each other, not hearing, not listening, not feeling?
Will babies like Bora Bulut, the grandson of Neshe have a chance to survive on this land in peace, loving both parts of this island?
So long there are newborns, there is hope – hope never dies…
So long there is poetry, there is hope – because it is culture that brings us together, that makes us understand each other better, that gives us strength, that dissolves borders, that makes us reach far beyond other horizons…
And for hope to survive, we must think more, feel more, explore more, read more and listen to the poetry of Neshe and all the other poets who are transferring the chaos in our souls into a hope for peace…
Photo: Orestis Agisilaou with Neshe Yashin...
(*) Article published in the POLITIS newspaper on the 16th of October 2016, Sunday.