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Vinh Dang
Poet

 


Shining farm market
Season of splendid colors
Flowers kiss flowers


The poem reflects my effort to understand and mingle with the local community. Language was a barrier when I first arrived here. To better understand Syracuse, I would go with friends to the farmers’ market to see the traditional weekend activities of American people. The market reminded me of the open air markets in Vietnam. One of the main differences is there is almost no bargaining between buyers and sellers, and everything happens so peacefully here. I first saw the market in flower season. There were so many kinds of flowers in many colors. I was surprised that some flowers, which I only found in the wild in Vietnam, were cherished, planted, and taken care of carefully here. The poem is what I instantly felt when seeing all the beautiful flowers.

White clouds drifting where?
Over ocean or dark wood
Homeland hearth—blue smoke

While walking outside on a cold winter’s day in Syracuse, I watched smoke coming out of a neighbor’s chimney. It brought back memories of my former Vietnam’s countryside. I vividly recall how animated the day at sunset was! Aloft the sky, white clouds wandering, down here the poor hamlet little by little sinks into darkness, no noises, no chaos except farmers left. The rice field, plough upon shoulder, cows and buffalos toward their stable bellowing. But what most inspired me was the greyish blue smoke flowing out of each family’s thatched roof, where mothers and wives were cooking the evening meal, promising a sweet reunion of the whole family under an oil lamp.

 

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