Hotel Poem, İstanbul

Oktay Rifat was a Turkish playwright and founder of the Garip movement in poetry. I suppose you could say that we’re staying in “his” room, since it’s his “I Saw My Hand” poem that identifies it, rather than a usual number. The room is in the small, 19th-century Hotel Poem, in the historic Sultanahmet district, with views of the sea of Marmara.

Rifat would have no trouble today finding water for his drink or for his dams, as it’s been raining steadily since we arrived.


Drinking water, I saw my hand ,
pink, hollowed and lightly downed.
I said _ hello there , hand, hello!
Hold glass and fork and pen
and when the time comes
don’t hesitate
to hold the sword and gun.
Stand firm, my hero, my lion – hearted friend.

Drinking water, I saw my hand,
speechless and dry
like Ahmet’s hand or Mehmet’s.
Hello, I said, hello you busy hands,
that make trains run , I said,
and electricity work.
You topple mountains,
bring water to the dams,
equip the earth from end to end,
make green the human race.

Drinking water, I saw my hand,
no eyes and ears, alive,
his fine blue weins,
the thumb with pleasure bent,
forefinger nicely crooked,
ring – finger inexplicable,
and the little one in a world of its own

Oktay Rıfat

2 thoughts on “Hotel Poem, İstanbul

  1. I definitely liked the hotel – we spent here 14 nights,
    everything was perfect – staff is extremely friendly (Russian-speaking front-desk manager after 3 pm), breakfast is very good, wi-fiworks
    perfect. I asked a room on the top floor in advance and they arranged it.
    Welcome drinks and good-bay present were very nice. When the problem occurred (e.

    g. no towels in a room) they solved it immediately. A lot
    of TV-channels in different languages (2 Russian channels).
    Breakfast is really good-even traditional turkish tea is served (very
    tasty!). The swimming pool (free of charge, underground
    floor, works 10-10) was cold only once, though we
    did not use it very often. The staff was always smiling and helpful,
    etc. I really like our stay here. Location is ok – you can
    reach the center by walk or use tram (tram station near the hotel)


  2. I liked the words of this poem….Even terrible traffic in Istanbul, I am sure you will have fantastic moments there…
    Turkiyeye Hosgeldiniz!!! (Welcome to Turkey)


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