Monday, May 12, 2008

I Belong There

~after Mahmoud Darwish

I belong there. I have many memories.
I was born on Sky Mountain, grew up running with horses on a plain
Of elephant grass, nourished by fields that quilted the mountainside.
I have courtship songs and laughter rising from the fields
To be snatched by a bright eagle surfing the wind.
I have a saturated meadow where I drink dewdrops on banana leaves,
Pluck cherries by the roadside, pull tender shoots
From the eternal bamboo grove,
Scoop fish from the river, harvest mushrooms from the moist earth.
The mountain belonged to everyone.
The valley belonged to no one.

I had lived on the land long before brothers rose to overthrow brothers,
The victors promising to share all the land.

But now the valley is deserted.
The mountain is forbidden.
The meadow is dry: banana, cherry, bamboo trees cut down
And sold to foreign lands, crows pick on the bones of dead
Fish on the dry riverbed, mushrooms won’t grow in the parched earth.
People are driven from the mountain
To settle along the road. Songs and dance fill the disco halls
Where young girls throng to entertain travelers and returned Hmongs
While local young men look on with empty eyes.
When I finally return to Sky Mountain
On my sky steed, descending like a bright eagle out of the west,
Will I feel I have returned
I don’t belong there. I have many memories.


mai said...

This is a remarkable poem. Beautiful in detail!

Bridgeowner said...

Thanks, Mai. I'm glad you like the poem.

Charles F. Mantha said...

Moved me, loved it.

Chayut Xiong said...

Great poem, can also explain Hmong life as well.
Tswvchoj, could you please consider to include my site to your blog as a link exchange (community). my site is, Thai language. talking about Hmong situation in Thaland and Laos, like Laos Hmong refugees in Thailand.
Look forword to hearing from you soon.

Chayut Xiong

Anonymous said...

This poem leaves me breathless; it's so beautiful. I feel like I can imagine all that you felt in here. WOW

Bridgeowner said...

Hi Chayut,
Thanks for reading my poems. Of course I will link your site to my community. I can't read Thai anymore, but your site seems very interesting. Keep in touch, and keep connecting Hmong together.

Chayut Xiong said...

Thank you Tswvchoj, you can found your link at the right sidebar of I'll try to insert a short English to any post.

Connecting together.
Chayut Xiong