Happy World Poetry Day! Not much good at writing my own poetry, but I like reading the genre when I can. Here’s one I remember getting dopamine chills from in first year; I found it by cracking open a Likhaan anthology and turning it to a random page. (Poem copy-pasted from here.)
This brings back bittersweet memories of my time under Sir Jimmy; a lot of ties have been severed since then, and it hurts to think that there will never be the time of day to give them any closure. I watch their lives unfold without me on social media, and it’s sad to think that it’s far too awkward to initiate conversation, or distill all the frustration into coherent sentences, because of all the distance between us. I guess it would be apropos to quote my favorite line in the poem: “I cannot fathom the human sadness that infects our sense for beauty.”
You can check out more poetry-related posts in my blog in this category.
Dear Davie, Dear Diego
I am on an island called Oahu.
Here there are many white people, they are called Haules.
There are also Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos.
I have seen the fields of sugar cane
Where the Ilocanos worked when they first came over.
How poor they must have been and lonely;
No one could follow their speech to their own island home.
There are very few native Hawai’ians;
Their words which are the names of streets and buildings
Outnumber them. “How could happen this be?”
A long time ago, they had a queen, but soldiers came from America
And took away her throne, and then all the land.
Those who fought were killed, and then many more died
Because they did not know the diseases that the soldiers brought –
They were never so sick before on their island.
But it is a beautiful island
Perhaps because nature’s story is so different from ours.
Trees and mountains and falls and beaches are her speech.
And perhaps, because our own story is dark,
We see only half her beauty, and only dream of good will and peace.
I cannot fathom the human sadness that infects our sense for beauty.
Let me just tell you now
About the Chinese banyan tree by my window.
Tonight it is my father because his love
Was like a great tree, but without speech.
Every morning on that banyan tree
Many species of birds are in full throat,
So that now I wonder: would my sons, years from now,
Gather from a tree’s silence my own heart’s affection,
And in that moment know that once, while I made their world,
I had deeply wished, when they shall have left that world behind,
I would be the tree to their morning?