Khanh's Poetry Corner
My Sacred Place
I often came out to my front yard
To sit on top of my car-
Immersing myself in the darkness,
I gazed at the moon hanging in the sky,
Beautiful and bright
As it had looked nine years ago
When I was still a child.
I thought about the good things I did
And the mistakes I made
And screamed whenever I had a bad day.
Sometimes the dew prematurely fell
And cold wind slapped my face.
The rain and snow didn't care
Whether or not I was there,
But I didn't mind.
I felt free;
I felt I was genuinely me.
--Khanh L. Bui--
The Stream Forgotten
You shredded our dreams apart.
You deliberately tore my heart
Into pieces and kicked them away
In a shiny crate.
On that fateful autumn day,
On that street we used to date,
It was 1 AM and I had to wait
For you to come late and betray.
Your presence, your voice, you touch so dear,
All connived to leave me in tears.
Gray, I say-
Gray is my world.
The love, the days, our melodies
Are all but aching memories.
If one day I become crazy
Please don't come to say you're sorry.
Alone I walk slowly in May,
Tracing snows without your face,
Thinking about the happy days
That remain young like yesterday.
--Khanh L. Bui--
The Growing Rock
There he was, carrying two empty log-baskets,
Walking on a small path
That wound like a snake.
Wild plants still dampened by dews
Invaded the road with their stretchy arms.
Big rocks that resembled
Frozen human beings blocked our way.
My brother pulled me with his warm, staunch arms
And asked if I was excited.
I told him I was scared.
We headed upward
To the apex of a mountain
That had filled my mind with endless imaginations.
"Are we there yet?" I asked,
Referring to the site of a tiny rock
That the villagers called "The Growing Rock,"
Because it seemed to grow taller
I stared at it every morning from my house.
We passed through tall trees and awful pits;
I never ceased to wonder who created them.
There were bombs scattering and
Strange noises by animals I did not recognize.
Suddenly, he stopped.
I raised my eyes to his chin
Then to the direction pointed to by his long arm.
In front of us was a grayish rock
Larger than any house I had seen
And taller than any tree I had ever looked at.
Standing there, I thought for a while
Before asking with awe: "What is that?"
--Khanh L. Bui--
The Rice Field
I watched my mom planting rice,
Her long hair was neatly tied;
Her wet sleeves were carefully folded,
And her soft feet became alive.
She walked slowly down the field
With a stoop; her arms touched
The ground every second or two.
How tiring, I thought to myself.
She turned to me once in a while,
Smiling - just smiling.
I felt the wind against her gentle face;
I saw the cold in her tiring eyes.
The rain picked up but she didn't mind.
Under her cone-shaped straw hat, she progressed.
She knew the rice was important;
She knew the rain would subside.
Under the trees the herons hid.
The fish lay still in the narrow ditch.
Down the field through the gloominess,
My mom was there with her rice bucket.
--Khanh L. Bui: Dedicated to my once mystical childhood--
Alone I sit before a worn out lamp,
Remembering my long forgotten past,
When I was young and used to hide in camps
And live through days with only quick snacks.
Each night we assembled and stayed inside,
And mothers quietly covered their toddlers,
Comforted them by singing lullabies,
Ensuring their continuous slumber.
We knew our homes were no stable place
Each time we heard a helicopter's sound.
We often hid in anywhere that's safe,
In mountains, in caves, or under the ground.
I think about how people cruelly died;
It gives me pains whenever I describe.
--Khanh L. Bui: Based on a true tale--
Too Bad I Wasn't Invited
On a bright day in July
A wedding took place.
Far upon the sky
I felt the heavens shake.
All the girls wore long pretty dresses,
And so, too, did the guys.
Sweet perfume dangled in the air;
Everyone had big smiles.
The music sprang up and down,
Rumbling the peaceful town.
There was food, lots of food to be served.
Too bad I wasn't invited inside.
The groom anxiously walked back and fore,
Waiting for his beautiful bride.
There she was, walking gently down the aisle
At the signal of the firecrackers outside.
--Khanh L. Bui--
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.