• Uyen Nguyen

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.

My Mother

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.