Madonna in the Mosque

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Elphin
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Madonna in the Mosque

Post by Elphin » Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:25 pm

Last night in my half sleep,
I imagined we’d walked
from the Blue Mosque
to the Hagia Sophia,
a short distance
in the November rain.

Above us, the cupola was hovering,
like a welcome umbrella,
over the mihrab and the minbar;
in the apse the Mary and child
mosaic, yellow and blue,
like a bruise on the plastered wall.

This morning from my balcony
in the Istanbul Hilton,
watching the Bridge over
the Bosphorous awaken,
the LED lights fading
like last night’s lipstick,

I know that where I am
is a different place from you.

Macavity
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Re: Madonna in the Mosque

Post by Macavity » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:35 am

Elegant write Elph. Particularly like cupola/umbrella. A few similes in there - my fav was the LED lights fading
like last night’s lipstick
- had a Scott Fitzgerald quality. The mosaic/bruise could be a metaphor to cut down on the 'like' count.

enjoyed

mac

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Re: Madonna in the Mosque

Post by JamesM » Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:54 am

Hello there,
I read that as 'minibar' at first....cocktails and a prayer....Yes, an elegant read, though the significance of it all is lost on me. A poignant sadness comes through and the descriptions are on point- the umbrella , as Mac noted, a deft touch.
Regards

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Re: Madonna in the Mosque

Post by NotQuiteSure » Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:22 am

.
Hi Elphin,
enjoyed the read, though thought 'the' was overused. The ending is excellent.

S1. - Do you need 'd, wouldn't walked suffice? (L2)
I don't think you need the before Hagia Sophia.
Perhaps the street name (along kabasakal caddesi?) instead of a short distance?

S2. - Do you need like (L2)?
A lot of 'thes' in L3/4, maybe
over mihrab and mibar;
in the vault Virgin and Child

(Does an apse have a wall? Genuine question)
Like a bruise seems oddly political.

S3. - I'd prefer a different geographical detail to Istanbul
as that's already well established, maybe
This morning from my balcony
in the Sultanahmet district



Regards, Not


.

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Firebird
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Re: Madonna in the Mosque

Post by Firebird » Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:55 am

Hi Elph,

There’s a lot to like here.

Your poem seems full of image of things which are together and apart: Christianity and Islam in the Hagia Sophia; Europe and Asia split by the Bosphorus - a city of two halves.

I think the poem hints at a relationship that split some time ago because of embedded cultural differences.

Some specific comments below.
Elphin wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:25 pm
Last night in my half sleep,
I imagined we’d walked
from the Blue Mosque
to the Hagia Sophia,
a short distance
in the November rain.

Above us, the cupola was hovering, (maybe: ‘hovers’, and is ‘cupola’ definitely the right word in reference to the Hagia Sophia?)
like a welcome umbrella,
over the mihrab and the minbar;
in the apse the Mary and child
mosaic, yellow and blue,
like a bruise on the plastered wall.

This morning from my balcony
in the Istanbul Hilton,
watching the Bridge over
the Bosphorous awaken,
the LED lights fading
like last night’s lipstick,

I know that where I am
is a different place from you.
Hope this helps.

It’s a good poem with lots of strong images.

Cheers,

Tristan

David
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Re: Madonna in the Mosque

Post by David » Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:58 pm

Yes, very good. (Sorry. Time is short tonight. Brevity!)

David

P.S. I've read this before, haven't I?

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Perry
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Re: Madonna in the Mosque

Post by Perry » Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:52 pm

I haven't been on the site for a few days, so I apologize for missing this.

I agree that this is a lovely, even delightful, poem -- very gentle and soothing, easy to read, almost calming. Even though I'm not Muslim or Christian, I love the old mosques, temples and churches, and I know about both of these buildings.

I think that both buildings are mosques, the Hagia Sophia having been converted. That being the case, it seems to me that your title and final line are references to a conflict in a relationship you (or the narrator) is having, or had. That's the only way I can interpret it.

My only suggestion is that "welcome umbrella" become "welcoming umbrella".

Very nicely done. I wish I could write something so emotional and wistful.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

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Re: Madonna in the Mosque

Post by Elphin » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:06 am

Thanks all for passing by and the comments

@mac — I agree I could probably go to metaphor and reduce the likes

@ James m - I will take poignant sadness, it was certainly one of the feelings I was hoping to express

@nqs — appreciate the close reading. Let me reflect on your points about naming districts etc. That could work.

I am going to stick with we’d ..... I wanted a past tense implication rather than future or present. You are right, there are a lot of thes. I am not a fan of missing articles but I will look again.

I get bruise could be political... not meant to be a political poem, more a personal bruise.

@Tristan - you nailed it. It is a poem of together and apart and bridges between.

@David, you did see it before in another place.

@Perry.. appreciate you liked it. And welcoming is a good suggestion, it may indeed be a better choice.

Again, I appreciate the close reads.

elph

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Re: Madonna in the Mosque

Post by riverrun » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:49 pm

I loved the imagery from "Bosphorous awaken", this verse seems to abridge a whole poem itself.

best

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Re: Madonna in the Mosque

Post by 1lankest » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:03 pm

Nice, Elph, very nice.

Only one nit: why is the last line so deliberately clumsy, it seems overly contrived.
Why not just

‘I know now
that you’re not here.’

...Or something yet simpler

Luke

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Re: Madonna in the Mosque

Post by bjondon » Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:04 pm

Hi Elph - this one definitely grows on you - I like the way the whole swirls around and gives impact to the quiet realisation of the last couplet. The Chekovian ambling atmospherics, the possible political/religious significances do the job of drawing us in but they all turn out to be borrowed music for the thought processes of the N's gained knowledge that this affair is finally over.
From the lipstick line I think the N is probably female - and the colour fading from both the lips and the landscape conjures very nicely the way this loss makes smaller but also calmer both the self and the world.
The timing is quite ambiguous - the 'walk' seems quite vivid yet it is a semi-reverie in halfsleep, a sort of symbolic walk through of the relationship.
The last meeting of this couple could have been some time ago, or the lover could even be sleeping in the room behind her - but by making that immaterial the poem foregrounds the feeling, the new knowledge.
So, very good, and I like especially that giant mosaic bruise, also fading in its blues and yellows.
Maybe 'minbar' - though great sonics and detail, niggles a little because of its incongruous closeness to 'minibar', propped up by its adjacent 'Hilton'.

Regards,
Jules

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Jackie
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Re: Madonna in the Mosque

Post by Jackie » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:02 am

Elphin,
Thank you for this poem. I have enjoyed it over and over. It reminds me that I want to write.

The commentary has been interesting. I wonder about the bruise. Do you want readers to understand it is personal so they won’t search around among the religious or political? Or do you plan to leave it as it is?

I don’t find your frequent uses of “the” distracting, since English grammar requires it with famous buildings, works of art and the like.

I keep recalling the lipstick image, and the ending … those wonderful almost-bumbling last lines.

Jackie

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Re: Madonna in the Mosque

Post by Elphin » Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:28 pm

Riverrun, Jules, Jackie and Luke, I appreciate your time and feedback

elph

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