One of our occasional contributors, the poet-painter-farmer-social activist Chath pierSath is traveling in his homeland, Cambodia, and sending daily dispatches as poems and paintings on his Facebook page. A refugee from the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, Chath came to America as a boy and after various moves settled in Lowell for many years. He earned a master’s degree in community social psychology from UMass Lowell. The author of three books, he lives in Bolton, Mass., when he’s not in France, Cambodia or elsewhere.–PM
Daem Kor, the Kapok Tree
by Chath pierSath
Rooted deepest in the bank of Stung Sangker, your shade taking the sun way high, from where I look I am the tiniest of creatures, admiring you, tree of time, smooth bark of green, shape of light caressing you among bamboos and low canopy trees, you are my witness.
Here, I arrived ignorant of local ways, their love and their hatred, their greed & self-destruction that you have seen during my absence, a son who had gone far and not forgotten your goodness. I return to take refuge in your grandeur and power, to hear and to see the sky.
My arms wide open, kneeling before you, tell me who is out here I can love and trust. Show me to the river, where it begins & ends, what songs, what stories it can share, all ears, all eyes, envisioning in time of peace. May this country return to kindness & community.
I’d like to build a tiny home to put my heart at rest when I am lonely & sad. I can find safety in your protection, my tears for your strength. Give me this chance once, I won’t ask of you anymore.
Take me back home
to die a true son,
never again in horror or in nightmare should I ever have to run.