Iljas Baker

Iljas Baker

Iljas Baker was born in Scotland and is a graduate of the universities of Strathclyde, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. He now lives in Nonthaburi, Thailand where he is a university lecturer and a consultant editor. He writes poetry, essays, and book reviews and is working on a novel. He recently recommenced writing poetry after a long hiatus. His poetry has been published in numerous issues of the Bosphorus Review of Books and in the anthology We Humans. Two poems have been accepted for the forthcoming anthology A Kaleidoscope of Stories.


Forty years ago
Istanbul seemed larger.
I was smaller then, inwardly.

It is the same sema,
perfectly symmetrical,
cosmically significant.
In ancient times a prayer, now a performance.
What once was spontaneous is perfectly orchestrated.
And there is a clock on the wall.

No question of the semazens’ longing being fulfilled,
there is no longing.
No need to hide their ecstasy,
there is no ecstasy.
But it is perfect art
and everyone is happy.

Later I will drink Turkish coffee
and eat baklava stuffed with pistachios
somewhere in Fatih
and contemplate
that moment at the commencement
when the dervishes loudly slapped the floor in unison.

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Poetry in this post: © Iljas Baker
Published with the permission of Iljas Baker