As I have adjusted to life back in the U.S. this past week, I see glimpses of a new person emerging from Cambodia. I look the same on the outside, but inside my heart was transformed by Cambodia. Here is another attempt on my behalf to put those changes into words through poetry.


Enduring cycle
Darkness finds every country
Night around the world

In Cambodia
The darkness lasts forever
Suffering is real

Elie Wiesel’s “Night”
Auschwitz survival horrors
Life continues on

I used to tremble
When I walked into the dark
Now I am at peace

Facing the darkness
I heard humanity weep
And I wept with them

Before tears I cried
Poured out from selfish pity
Now my tears have changed

They flow not for me
But for all humanity
There are no islands

I stared into death
Felt dignity stripped away
My heart was humbled

It is only now
Soaked in brevity of life
That I truly live

My lungs breathed before
But my heart was not thriving
I was ignorant

At last I’m alive
Every single breath cherished
Death awakened life

Enduring cycle
Darkness finds every country
Light shines within me


2 comments so far

  1. Carole Voss on


  2. Marilyn Woelk on

    This is a deep and profound understanding of the many aspects of life…the darkness, the light, the hope, the change, and the tough realities. Keep writing! The pen is mightier than the sword!

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