“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.
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.
- Cold Mornings (decorartuk.wordpress.com)