“Winter Sleep,” A Review



Winter Sleep, 2014
Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Interiority, Pathos, Survival

There are many things to like about Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s exquisite film, “Winter Sleep.” (Palme d’Or winner at Cannes Film Festival, 2014).

First of all, it is a very interior film. Ceylan manages to create a strong inner sensibility of pathos, an aching sense that life, in the end, is cruel, relentless, and merciless. Inside of that psychological cosmos, however, is the other half of Ceylan’s Sisyphean fatalism: people do manage to survive in spite of the quiet desperation of their lives.

There is little question that Aydin, the central character, is the personified form of Ceylan’s world of pathos. And he is also a survivor, not unlike Hidayet, his lower-class assistant, who does all the managerial tasks and is Aydin’s personal chauffeur. (Hidayet’s constant, but strong background presence in the film appears to be Ceylan’s way of reminding his audience that the poor and the service class, in their uncomplaining stoicism, will always be with us.) Continue reading


I Cannot Tell a Lie, Sometimes

I said yes to you once
Because the angle
of the sun seemed right
At the time.
But now, in this
More cordial season,
Formality requires
My truant distance.

Remembering our
Backyard sandbox
Below the dining room
Windows, observing
The sweet chaos
Of your hands, I knew
You, even then,
As one requiring
Royal loyalty
I could not give.








Love, Passion, Ecstasy, and the Ordinary

Love as Constancy

Let me not to the marriage of true minds/Admit impediments,” says the bard.

So, my friends, are we to believe about “true” love that it is constant, as the poet would have us believe? Or, if you are a cynic, relentlessly constant?

We are consistently reminded in this famous Shakespearean sonnet that love does not change; “it is the ever fixéd mark/That looks on tempests and is never shaken.” It is the stable “star” in the heavens, the guide to every lost ship (“wandering bark”). Continue reading


Teenager’s First Date

Showing up on time
Is the easy part.

The dashboard of
His rented car
Free of dust,
Vacuumed carpets
And a lemon smelling
Tag dangling from
The rear view mirror.

One more look
In the sun-visor
Mirror, an angled glance
At the straggly sideburns.

Fly firmly zipped.

Spitting on his closed
Index fingers,
He drags them along
The creases of
His black pants.

He pulls out a hanky
To hoe-shine the tips
Of his eager shoes.

Gently tugging
The bottom of his red tie,
He firmly wrestles
With the knot
To shield the
Top button from
Strangers looking
For flaws.

He opens his sport coat,
Tilting his nose
Into the dark corners
Of both arm pits.

He turns off the
Impatient ignition,
Opens the door,
And looks up at
The scoop of a moon
Glancing down at
The familiar.