Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Land diverse in beauty of fields and oak tree leaves,
yet longing more by far
the spirit of the pioneer
i n d i v i d u a l,  by the heart

led into open spaces, desire to breathe
in air never exhaled
by the singular mind or creed.
A quiet pride in ours who failed

is a nod to those who tried, for they are the free
spirits of our homeland,
the real we in whom we believe,
bound together without a brand.

A poetry prompt from naming constellations.

This prompt was all about Javanese poetry forms. I chose to try the tembang macapat form called Mas kumambang. It is supposed to follow the theme of longing or homesickness, and adhere to the structure 12i, 6a, 8i, 8a, where the number indicates how many syllables in the line, and the letter indicates the vowel sound of the final syllable of the line. I strung three stanzas together, and played around with different "a" vowel sounds in each stanza.

Since I recently wrote about my culture shock experiences, I was feeling especially drawn to the theme of homesickness. Couple that with tomorrow being our Independence Day, well, my poem quickly took on a pretty overtly patriotic tone. Setting aside the circus of politics, and the poetic inclination to build layer upon layer of hidden meaning, this one came out pretty simple and close to the surface. As a side note, I've only lived away from the US for a short time, but already I appreciate more than ever the way we nurture individualism and creative thought from a young age. This Independence Day holds a special meaning to me this year, my first 4th of July away from home.

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