Emma’s Poem

This poem was written the year I took my first trip back to Vietnam.  I went to see if I could find out anything about my past, my history.

This letter is dedicated to my natural mother whom I’ve never met.

6 Sept 1990

Here I sit, watching the last stages of the setting sun and its final rays caress the earth.

As the day’s music silently dies away, the music of the night begins.  I watch the first cluster of stars unfold and turn on their golden lights.  I see the moon appear and fill the sky with her silvery smile.  As I watch these preparations unfold and gently overlap one another, I wonder and ask.

“Oh Mother .. 

Do you see the setting of the sun as I see it?
Do you hear the music of the day and the music of the night as I hear it?
Do the stars shine for you as they shine for me?
Does the moon smile for you as she smiles for me?

Or are you somewhere where the day never ends and the sun never sets?

Do you ride the waves of life?
Or is life for you an ocean – forever calm, forever blue; with an endless sky of blue to match?
Do you follow the ryhthm of life as it flows? 
Or is life for you gentle and peaceful?
Do you stride into the unknown as I do?
Or do you walk with ease and confidence with clear smooth roads?

Do you work, rest, and play under the same universe as I do – and is time your organiser like time is for me?
Or where you are, is there no pattern and no struggle against the current; and where you have need to do little or nothing?
Is the life of your tapestry completed or unfinished?
Whatever the situation have the hands of time and space taken your tapestry and soothed all?

No wind to carry the tears I cry for you,
no sun to send my smile when I think of you.
No water to quench the thirst of my love I feel for you.
No words to describe my need for you.

No breeze to send messages to you.
No warmth to dry my tears which have turned into streams; from streams to rivers; from rivers to oceans.

Oh Mother … 

Do you grieve the grief I grieve?
Or are you somewhere where there are no pain or troubles, no heartache?
Do you feel the things I feel?
Or are your feelings peaceful and soothed of all its confusions?
Did music have meaning for you as music has for me?

Oh Mother … Mother … Mother

What were your hopes for me?
Did you hope for me a better life, even in the midst of a war torn country?
Was it your hope that I remain in Vietnam?
Or go to another country?
Oh mother of mine, whom I’ve never known –
despite the good opportunities and a new country,
here is a little girl who waits your return.
The little girl who walks along the bench in the orphanage, waits for your return.
The little girl now here in Australia,
wonders when she’ll go home,
waits for your return.
The little girl who sits here writing to you,
waits for your return.
I, I am that little girl
Do you know that I travel across space and time;
land and sea to find you?

Oh!  Mother, Mother, Mother …

Do you ask the questions I ask?
Or is the life you live never full of how, when, where, or whys?
Do you ask the ‘what ifs’?
Or is life for you never filled with those?

Do you laugh and cry the way I do?
Or is life an everlasting smile?
Have you died a thousand deaths like I have?
Or have you lived your times of living and dying?

For wherever you are, I hope you are happy.

Know there is room in my heart for you Mother,
to whom I’ve never had the chance to get to know and love.
There is undying love for you Mother,
to whom I’ve never had the chance to get to know and love.
I don’t ever want to feel any anger towards you Mother,
to whom I’ve never had the chance to get to know and love.

I want so much for you to be happy wherever you are, and whatever you do Mother,
to whom I’ve never had the chance to get to know and love.
Whether you are married or not, whether you are here or not; I’ll be with you some day.
For I so much want that.

Wherever you are, I too hope that gentle hands carry me to you.
Where shadows never lengthen and brooks gurgle and trip over stones,
Where flowers bloom and happiness reign.

Where waves are just ripples in gentle surrounds;
Where birds constantly sing and where grass is green.
Where trees stretch out their arms in welcome.

Where no fears, no misunderstandings, no uncertainty and sadness exist, and no tears reside.

Until then, I will live for the time when I can run with freedom into the embrace of your outstretched arms, and finally say – “At last, I am home!”

I will be with you and we won’t be strangers as we are now.

Until then, I’ll live for the time when I’ll hear your voice say those three magical words a mother and daughter say to one another from time to time … 
“I love you”. 

I’ll look into your face which has been textured with life’s experiences and time,
I’ll feel your hands smooth all pain and worry away,
And as you do that, 
I’ll hear answers to lifelong questions.

I’ll hear the things which I have so long needed to hear .. 
“I love you now as I loved you long ago.”  
“I understand you now as I understood you long ago”.
“You are in my heart now as you have always been.”

No more will I have to look in the faces of each friend I make and wonder “are you my mother”?

No more will I, the little girl, have to keep searching in the streets to find you.

No more will I, the little girl, have to travel round the world to find you.

For I’ll hear you say –
“You are with me and I with you”.

For patient hands will hold me close to your heart,
Where I can rest my tired body and put my head against your breast,
Where we can be at peace, as one and the same.

I’ll hear you say – 
“Never will I have to let you go as I had to all that time ago”.

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