The Silence and the Solitude & My Mother
Hi, I am Uyen Nguyen, an 18-year-old teenager, environmental-conservationist, dog-lover, film photographer, senior, and poet from Hanoi, Vietnam.
I discovered my love for poetry soon after I moved across the globe to attend a boarding school in Pebble Beach, California. Despite the disorienting nature of moving thousands of miles away from home, I have been able to use poetry as a grounding mechanism both as I navigate new geographical territories and my progression through life.
The Silence and the Solitude
I don’t begrudge the silence that surrounds me.
It astounds me to think I ever hated it,
that some younger me, somewhere out there
might be complaining even now
while I dance through it without a care,
cutting through like steel through ice.
I like it. I like the way the solitude
seems to harden my resolve,
as if taking a blowtorch to my soul
and melting it into a wiser shape.
Younger me will learn the value of this, someday,
of how good it feels to just meditate
beneath the silently singing lips of solitude.
Bring me all the peace and quiet you have.
Peace and I have so much catching up to do,
here in the quiet, here in a cozy void.
Let me slip between the cracks
of what the world wants right now,
seeping past all their voices
and into a lovely quiet place.
It would take millions of breaths,
more than I even have left
to describe every way I admire
my mother, her passion, her fire.
She is everything a person should aspire
to become in life. Let the times be dire
and she’ll still knock them aside
as if she’s only swatting a spider away.
Never once did she need my father,
the selfish man who used one woman’s credit
to buy a second woman a Chanel bag.
Mom’s the best the world ever had
and she always deserved better than that.
I sometimes chuckle at a daydream
of her arresting him for that, in her old uniform.
I don’t think she should ever conform
to what other people want, not her.
It’s her strength and love that spurs me on.
I’ll love her every second, long after she’s gone,
because it’s thanks to her hard work,
in the face of fools, in a space for jerks,
that I learned, at last, what it means
to be someone who is worth every dream
that doesn’t quite come true.
Let all the hardships come in droves.
I’m not in the least afraid of those.
I’ve been watching her, all these years
and I’ll live a long, prosperous life
so that I never have to see her tears.