Whilst the neighbourhood is still asleep,
A brown-skinned boy with broken teeth appears,
Knees buckling under the burden of a bulky tray
Precariously balanced on his head,
Piled high with quoit-shaped sesame-seed buns
Which sparkle in the early morning sun.
The townspeople are stirring in their beds,
The simit-seller’s song resounds through empty streets.
The neighbours are resistant and reluctant to awake
But the simit-seller is nothing if not persistent.
He is rewarded by a window in the wooden house above
Flung wide. A tousled head blears out
Bat-blinking at the unaccustomed light.
She holds up all ten fingers
And lowers her wickerwork basket
Bouncing and rebounding off the rough uneven walls.
With an acknowledging call
She hauls up her family’s simple austere breakfast.
The brown-skinned boy is smiling now,
Revealing his decaying sandstone teeth.
He carefully secretes away his daily bread
Then continues on his way, his strident propaganda piercing
The hungry subconscious of the slumbering neighbourhood.
Further down the street more windows swing and baskets fall
To receive the fresh elusive flavour of a new-born day.
At about 5.30am the Simit Seller strides cheerfulluy through the streets of Istanbul carrying a basket of sesame buns on his head and calling out to prospective customers in the tall wooden houses. They let down their baskets which he fills with buns (and the change) then they haul the basket back up into the their window. This is a common sight. An old tradition that still endures.