Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Turkish Delight

Have you a moment to share a delightful, but very surprising, story?

Don't ask me how the internet works, don't ask me how anything is done in cyberspace (to me the whole system is a profound mystery). But, even if I'm totally incapable of understanding the 'hows' and the 'wherefores', I can muddle my way around in a very elementary fashion. I can even go online and find out how many people are reading this 'letter', where they come from, and whether, having read one instalment, they stayed to explore further. It can make interesting reading. Which is where we come to the delightful, but very surprising, story.

I paid a memorable visit to Turkey many years ago, a visit that mainly focussed on Istanbul - a city that was captivating, exotic, and profoundly different from London. Sad to say, I've been unable to return and, to the best of my knowledge, know no-one living there.
And yet . . . yes you've guessed what I'm about to tell you . . . the number of people in Turkey who read these 'letters' grows daily.

It's wonderful, it's humbling, it's very surprising . . . but it presents me with a quandary. Whereas these idle thoughts might have a certain insular appeal in the British Isles (particularly to those who have cats, or even to those who have found orbs in their photographs) much as I could wish it were otherwise, I cannot see what appeal they would hold for anyone living in Istanbul, Ankara or on the shores of the Black Sea.

So . . . if you should happen to be reading these words in Turkey, this is the only means I have of telling you that I am touched, delighted, and deeply moved that my very English ramblings should strike a chord with a people who were civilised and cultured long before we were, and who straddle Europe and Asia with such ease.

There is a poem by James Elroy Flecker which I learned as a child, it is called 'To A Poet A Thousand Years Hence'.
The closing lines would seem perfect for this occasion.

Dear, distant, unknown friends . . .

'Though I shall never see your face,
Nor reach to take you by the hand,
I send my words though time and space
To greet you . . . you will understand.'