Poetry is the unexpected stranger …

I’m drunk with stars.

My nephew, the artist and poet, is visiting with his family.

We’ve been indulging in artsy-fartsy conversation, talk that makes me feel drunk with stars.

Poetry is

A word picture, my nephew said.

Or a frame of words with room for interpretation, I replied.

We tossed the definitions back and forth:

– an echo of the world

– words that call to each reader’s memory

– spaces between that resonate with the holes in each reader’s own story …

In the end we agreed on what Vietnam’s eminent pre-war poet Hàn Mạc Tữ said:

“Thơ là người khách lạ, đi giữa nguồn tơ tưỡng trong trẽo”

“Poetry is the unexpected guest who accompanies the birth of our purest longings”

Such beautiful words! No wonder he continues to be read for nearly a century. No wonder I still turn to the Vietnamese poets for inspiration;)

Who is the unexpected guest when you begin to write?

What welcome are you giving your guest?

14 Responses to “Poetry is the unexpected stranger …”
  1. chrisbkm says:

    Poetry is… a language and way of seeing the world.

  2. annepeterson says:

    Really liked this post. So glad you got to exchange your artsy views with your nephew. I’m sure you both benefitted from the exchange. In answer to your question, the unexpected guest could be a number of them. Sometimes it’s fear, sometimes it’s shame. Whatever is trying to hide behind my words. But once they tumble out the emotion tumbles out as well. Exposed it tries to run and hide, but alas, there’s no where to run.

  3. Audrey, when writing my thoughts grow wings which carries me away to the places of my dreams where I find what I’m looking for.
    …I don’t think, I follow a trail of ink that say what I conceal.
    I write much more eloquently than I speak. I love this part of me. Its not always easy to capture the words, feelings and emotions on paper. But I try.
    I like to read poetry. Is the poems of the poet you quote translated in English.
    Take care.

    • Audrey Chin says:

      Patricia — I so admire what you set down on paper. When it comes to the truest things, like you, I too find writing easier than speaking.

      I don’t know of a proper anthology of Han Mac Tu in English but aside from the line about poetry here are 2 of my favourite verses –

      To whoever will buy the moon, I have the moon to sell …
      Silently lying on the eaves, waiting
      To whoever will buy it, I have the moon to sell …

      (set to old Viet music)http://us.nhac.vui.vn/han-mac-tu-dam-vinh-hung-m67406c6p69a45655.html

      Wind blows as wind does, clouds move as clouds do
      Sad waters flow and stain the cornflowers …
      Whose boat is staked on the white shore
      Waiting for the moon to return on time?

      There’s also a long article about him, with a translation of his very famous poem – Ripe Spring. But the translation doesn’t quite capture the original.


      • Thank you for the links Audrey. I went there and it’s beautiful.You know, blogging and writing opened my world. There are no borders or boundaries. I’m so glad we ‘met’. Poetry is such an amazing way to really express yourself. I love to dabble in that.

  4. I Love this post beautiful words to lift the soul. I receive enlightenment Audrey when writing, I am learning about me mostly. I am learning that if I don’t write I am lost, if I don’t draw I am empty and If I don’t dream I am nothing.

    • Audrey Chin says:

      I have no idea why I write Kath… Like you, I suppose its because I must. I’m glad for poetry, who sometimes visits. But equally, prose, doggerel or even pen scratches are welcome too.

  5. Mel says:

    For me good poetry is a sound, a taste, a smell, a wonder …

    Layers of flavours

    Mostly it draws me into a deep place, a place where I can feel at once alone and utterly connected with life. I love it 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: