“Head of Old Woman,” Konstantin Makovsky, circa 1890, WikiArt.

Part 1: Threshing Wheat and Chaff

Elder woman of ancient voices, guidance of
Derya I sought, stone hovel-living hermetess,
Sight rising to mountain peaks, she lived
By charity, those wisdom seeking offered
Food, blanket against winter cold nights.
This day, I, Tizmay, brought basket of wheat
Chaff. Why such meager gift? I did as told,
Derya’s voices beckoned, outstretched arms,
Grasping hands, ethereal refrains upon purple
Air. Journey of two days, father-escorted,
We left family farm and wheat fields to high
Plateaus of Mount Kaçkar Dagi, sky-touching
Summits, snow-swept walls, distant-alluring,
Calling in daily chores, morning dreams.

Seated around warming fire, “Mother, we
Seek your guidance,” I began, my offering
at Derya’s gnarled feet, by walking sticks
She barely hobbled, yet as whispered around
Shepherd’s night fires, dark force of nature,
Within her hands, she held reigns of destinies,
Far-eastern reaches of ancient Anatolia. “Come
Closer, child,” Derya instructed, twig-like
Fingers brow touching, tangling my dark hair.
“Ah, mountain spoke to you. Tell me of dazzling
Sunlight, threshing wheat from chaff.” “How do
You know these things?” my father, Rasin,
Asked, equally protecting as concerned.

“Monstrous things I see and hear, white rapids
Mountain flowing,” Derya chanted aloud, eyes
Storm-cloud roiling, body sing-song swaying.
“Earth’s deep-dwelling heart beating, life’s
Tumult, creation, destruction, I stalk waking
Dreams.” Towards me father turned, fearing
Derya’s response, too unnerved to ask more,
By his reassuring squeeze of hand, we sought
Her guidance, stayed. “Whilst threshing wheat
In windowed stone room,” I explained, tears
Welling, “dust of chaff rising to blinding
Sunbeams, my mind voice-touched, Mount
Kaçkar Dagi beckoned for lone pilgrimage.”

“Mountain Landscape,” Konstantin Bogaevsky, 1940, WikiArt.

“Disturbance on wings I felt, birds in flocks
Flying,” advised Derya, “mountain threshing
Wheat from chaff, spoke to you my child, to
No one else, guiding flame now burning with
Rejuvenated strength.” Thus, agéd Derya
Explained whilst candle making, chaff I brought
Tallow mixed, stone-ground berries, leaves,
Stirred aflame to melting, pungent odor hovel-
Filling, dark liquid into glazéd bowl she poured
Round waiting candle wicks. “Tizmay, veil is
Lifted, divine light recognized, mountain
Contemplation, first steps toward as farsighted
Hermetess, realization, candle and door.”

Beginning of poetic series with new characters and location (classical Anatolia
7th century BC). For more on Mount Kaçkar Dagi click here and here for more
on ancient Anatolia (Black Sea region of northeast Turkey).
Thanks for reading. 

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