Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Only The Heart

I was going through some old emails, and came across this gem of a poem I had read and fallen in love with eight years ago.

Note from the person who had sent me this poem: This poem is from Only The Heart by a writer called Brian Caswell. It is about Vietnamese refugees during that war and the troubles that they had and their search for freedom. This poem is in the Prologue and it was written by a poet called Thahn Tran.

Only the river knows
How it feels to flow
How it feels
To roll and boil and tumble over falls.
And go
Where no man tells you
Where to walk
Where to stand
How to feel.
Only the river knows these things...
And only the prisoner knows
The dream of freedom on his tongue.
Sweet foretaste of the summer wind
That blows
Across the waving green of the young rice,
Across the unchained current of the distant stream
Between the singing strands
Of taut stretched barrier-wire,
To speak the future freely
In guarded whispers.
Only the prisoner knows these things...
But only the heart knows
The song that has no words
To limit harmony.
The song that scorns despair, and blends for melodies.
The crash of rolling breakers dying,
And the silence of sap,
Rising in the trunks of ancient trees,
And the laughter of the children,
And the crying,
And the savour/fear of unexploded dreams.
Only the heart knows these things.
Only the heart sings...

11 comments:

The Seeker said...

Once in a while poetry can be very nice.

antiglam superstar! said...

Poetry's always nice. It has both rhyme and reason..

ZiggyStrauss said...

Well, no ... there's no rhyme in this one. I prefer it when they rhyme, meself. That's when they keep my attention. I wouldn't have noticed it if it wasn't staring at me from my friend's blog at this very moment.

a traveller... said...

Is it that hard for people to comment on the poem rather than poetry in general?

ZiggyStrauss said...

sigh... don't you get it? it's a subtle way of implying no one read it, duh 8-)

a traveller... said...

But... it's... nice...! *sniff* :(

ZiggyStrauss said...

I don't get it meself :p But then I'm not really a poem person... especially when they don't rhyme. I tried reading it again, but it made my head hurt :s what does it even mean?

I'm sure it's lovely, I'm not saying it sucks. Just I don't understand it... it goes whoosh over my head. :( sorry, I'm a bit denser than your other friends :(

The Seeker said...

I dunno what to say about the poem :p That's the kind of thing you think about rather than talk (unless you're in the unfortunate position of being an English student, but I don't think you really want me to analyse the poem like that)

antiglam superstar! said...

hay, way, may, nay! It doesn't rhyme like that, but it has an arrangement of words that can qualify as a rhyme.. "Only the heart" plays music to a rhyme like this. And don't worry about the meaning, for sometimes there are more meanings than one, and a different one for everyone. Am I commenting on poetry again? :D I like it, Rahi!

ZiggyStrauss said...

really? cos the last bit seems pretty straightforward (if only a teensy bit mushy). What meanings do you derive from it? I can only make out one.

... I hate analysing poems, though. Or lyrics. takes all the magic out :(

antiglam superstar! said...

I just felt at peace after reading this one.. You ask me to analyse it and the whole experience would turn into a chore! I might not even like it anymore! :P