“Hayır!” and “No!”: The Karagöz puppets protest November


Image taken by accident by Liz Cameron, and approved by M. as an interesting composition. It seems appropriate for the lack of light that New Englanders experience in the end of November. The puppets crave the light and warmth of south western Turkey in the summer – not this raw blue stuff. They are a bit homesick, you see.

“Hayır!” and “No!” These were the first words I heard this morning.  One in English and one in Turkish.  In choosing to speak both languages, the puppets were embracing their cross-cultural status.  You see, it has been almost a decade that they have been on leave from the Ottoman court and in residence in my head here in Provincetown, Massachusetts.  And today, those puppets were all about the negative.

“We have,” Yehuda Rebbe said, speaking for the group, “had it with November in New England.  We want NO more of it. No more cold. No more raw, damp air.  No more rain that turns to snow. No more brussel sprouts.  No more chilly fingers. No more November. Hayır!” His proclamation met with so many “Huzzahs” that I thought we might have awoken in a Charles Dickens novel, but soon realized it was not the case when I looked up at the top of the window wall across from my bed.  There, in the pre-dawn blue light, I saw a news ticker, words slipping and sliding across the digital cradle in a manner that created mini strobe-lights in the darkened room.


November (Photo credit: Cape Cod Cyclist)

As all the puppets clumped together on the windowsills, shivering with the breeze coming in through those ancient windows, Hacivad Bey made his own statement:

“M’lady, much as we love your love of the autumn, we side with the little-known poet, Thomas Hood, in his revolt against November.  We have installed it here in order to celebrate the LAST day of this dratted month in New England.  Perhaps this coming month will be a new leaf for you.”

I could have almost cried for the care and attention from the puppets this morning, as I, too, felt the No! of November, one of the toughest months of my life. And here is what the puppets had programmed into that ticker machine – lord knows where they found that out here at the end of the world!


A poem by Thomas Hood

No sun–no moon!
No morn–no noon!
No dawn–no dusk–no proper time of day–
No sky–no earthly view–
No distance looking blue–
No road–no street–no “t’other side this way”–
No end to any Row–
No indications where the Crescents go–
No top to any steeple–
No recognitions of familiar people–
No courtesies for showing ’em–
No knowing ’em!
No traveling at all–no locomotion–
No inkling of the way–no notion–
“No go” by land or ocean–
No mail–no post–
No news from any foreign coast–
No Park, no Ring, no afternoon gentility–
No company–no nobility–
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member–
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds–

As my eyes grew used to the sparking digital display, I remembered the poem that my Mother used to read to us every November 30th, and realized the puppets must have found that crevice of my brain, and retrieved the poem.  We always celebrated the end of the dreary – and the start of the festive season, full of love, friendship and hope towards the new year.  Many thanks to my puppets for this end-of-November treat.

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7 Responses to “Hayır!” and “No!”: The Karagöz puppets protest November

  1. Oh, how I can relate to all that no-ness!! No-vember has also been a No month for me in Rome, with the city rainy and gloomy, the Tiber river flooding its banks, traffic blocked and everyone grouchy. I was just thinking before I read this post that I want to throw myself absurdly into the Christmas Season, decorate my home from head to toe and try to bring some Christmas cheer, some warm glow of happiness into my home and heart. I hope you can do the same. It may be bad in November, but I ache for my dearly beloved New England with its snow, frozen lakes and pine trees at Christmas time.

  2. Pingback: Reflections on tea, çay, chai and my personal, globalized reality | Slowly-by-Slowly

  3. joyce colman says:

    I’ve wondered why I have such an aversive reaction to Thanksgiving! besides being trampled in an airport and held hostage in an automobile for hours en route to NY which i was fleeing to and from at the same time.

  4. Jack Scott says:

    I just hate sprouts – evil little green things that give me wind!

  5. E. says:

    Hi Jack, yes we need to have grown to hate those evil green sprouts! Enough of the local seasonal food movement – no more wind! No! November. Best, Liz

  6. E. says:

    Hi Joyce, well, now you have a poetry anthem for how to handle the Thanksgiving stuff. No! November. If you keep it in your mind at least you can bring comic relief to yourself in those New York bound moments. Love, Liz

  7. E. says:

    Hi Trisha, I was betting that you could relate to the no! November Powatan. May your house be filled with the merriment and bustling preparation for Christmas. Sending love your way. Love, Liz

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