A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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December 2009, vol 5 no 4

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Bruce Ross


The Blue Mosque

The vast upper level is a baroque version of bright white clouds in a bright blue Mediterranean sky covered as it is in blue and white Iznik tile with endlessly repeated tulip designs and blue paint, interspersed with stained glass windows and chandeliers illuminating the space with natural light and intensified color. The empty space weighs upon one, upon me, by diminishing the scale of human form and activity while expanding the scope of human thought and emotion. The lower interior is thus filled with peaceful groups of tourists and believers in quiet conversations, the believers fenced-off, many reclining comfortably on carpets after or before prayer, a twenty-first century living four-dimensional diorama of all the West conceived of as Oriental in the many paintings down the centuries. Verses from the Qur’an in elegant script demarcate the purpose of the space. This mosque if anything is surely a metaphor of divine infinity.

autumn evening rain . . .
the muezzin stops and further away
another muezzin

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