Posted by: John Looker | 28 January, 2011

The ferry across the Dardanells …

I have in mind a group of Istanbul/Byzantium/Constantinople poems, to be linked by short bits of free verse or prose. This is first of the link pieces. I’ll assemble the whole thing later, if I can get there.

The ferry across the Dardanells …

… is an ugly, ungainly thing. It’s a functional angular construction, a mockery beside the elegant ships that shaped the region’s history. It’s a mule beside a racehorse.

But look, here’s a Hollywood moment: on the upper deck, above the cars, above the prow, a couple are leaning on the rail, holding tightly but more to each other than to the rail, and their eyes are tightly closed. They  are gazing, but they gaze inwards.

Where their thoughts may be we cannot tell, but the boat is moving across the water, leaving one land-mass in its wake, moving to a new shore, a new continent.

© John Stevens 2011


  1. I love how much can be done with very few words.

    You leave us wanting more, or perhaps wandering off into making up our own stories.

    I am enjoying this series John


  2. Thanks very much, David. Wish me luck with it!


    • I do wish you luck with it. 🙂


  3. This is lovely – full of atmosphere and a fantastic modern voice which allows us to sink in.

    Where their thoughts may(… be)


  4. Great, very nice image 🙂 I wish I had the right words, but I can see them. In my imaginaton they are dressed in black btw, with the great old houses on the banks of the Bosporus in the back.


    • Ah, so you know the region too! I like the extra details you provide. Thank you!


      • I have never been there, but I watched a documenary about those houses and just imagined the rest. Closest I ever got, was Morocco and Greece, but that’s quite different. Your travels must have been very inspiring 🙂 Lucky you!

        btw: Near my house is an alley that was named after my grandfather who lived there, and the name sign also says the alley used to be called Dardanellen (Dardanelles). I have no idea why (yet) !


      • What a fascinating association!


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