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World Poems #1 ກະວີແປ #1

World Poems #2 ກະວີແປ #2

World Poems #3 ກະວີແປ #3

World Poems #4 ກະວີແປ #4

World Poems #5 ກະວີແປ #5

Dare to dream

Being crushed for so long....
Quon Lao dare not to dream
Dream of a day we have golden wings ....
Flying...
soaring across the sky.

Hardly do we remember...
of the olden days...
when the sky belonged to us...
When dream was what we breathed in...
day in day out.

Yet, the sky is so vast ...
no different from the olden days.
Yet, we can't make ourselves see...
beyond the horizon.

Envious are we ...
of the birds ...
little as they are...
flying high...
in the sky.

Quon Lao, don't think you are that defeated...
that's unfortunate!
Look deep into your eyes...
reach back into your ancestor's soul.

See what?
Your spirit - Lao spirit ...
never been crushed.
It lives on...
in you...
in me...
and in all Quon Lao.

Let's go to the distance...
wherever it may take.
I, for one, will be with you.
Here is my hand...
take it ...
dream with me ...
dare with me.

Remember
Without a dream...
wings ...
though endowed with...
are broken and useless.

Hakphaang,
Kongkeo Saycocie
12/16/02

That spirit


Flying across
The rugged terrain of Isan
With the red feather
Stuck at the tip of his lance
Flowing gracefully with the fiesty wind
Chao Ratsavong
The crown prince of LanXang Vientiane
Raised high the Lao spirit of defiance

Like Che Guevara
The idol of the youth rebellion
Chao Ratsavong
Lashed out with all his youthful vigor
At the injustice heaped on his people
By the hateful Siamese

Decades, if not centuries,
The Lao were treated like dirt
It was more than the proud like him
Could tolerate

Let's see for once
If the coward Lao couldn't do anything
Let's settle for all
If the Siamese couldn't be beaten
And let's put a stamp down
If Heaven wouldn't be on the Lao side
Just for once

Yes defeated the Lao were
Nonetheless his legend lives on
Old people still recount his story
To their offspring

It goes
Bullets couldn't penetrate him
Swords couldn't scratch him
And nowhere in all of Muang Lao
His footprints weren't imprinted
Deep in the Lao soil

Chao Ratsavong
Born in different space and time
I just can't help wondering
If he were born in our era
Will he ever be that vigorous
That patriotic
And that all-giving to Muang Lao and Quon Lao?
Or was he an anomaly in the Lao race?
Or are we, the Lao offspring, an anomaly instead?

Still,
In our dream
We dream ourselves metamorphosing
Into our hero
Flying across the width of Muang Lao
Flashing our red feather
With pride
And dignity

Only time will tell
If we deserve to carry the torch
Chao Ratsavong, Chao Anou and the valiant Lao of his time
fought all their lives
To safeguard the sacred Muang Lao for us.

Hakphaang,
Kongkeo Saycocie
7.17.03
*****

A legendary Lao

From Sipsongpanna to Strongstreng
From the Annamite Chains to Korat Plateau
wherever the Lao are
his name has become a folklore.

Of Chao Anou's sons and great generals,
he was the one
whom the Siamese cold not lay their hands on.
He could pass through their lines
as if swung swords, firing bullets,
throwing lances and shooting arrows
didn't have eyes and ears for him.

They said
he was so strong
that the entire Siamese army couldn't subdue him
he was so swift
that the whole Isan witnessed his presence everywhere
and he was so dangerous
that the entire Siam just couldn't even sleep.

Yes, it was him
who advanced the Lao troop
to Sarabury three marching days from Bangkok.
Yes, it was him
who cut down the Siamese generals
like cutting reeds
and mortally wounded the chief Siamese general,
Phagna Bodin.
And yes, it was him
who pulled down the SARN PARB VIENG
denigrating Chao Anou to ashes.

From Lao Issara to Neo Lao Hak Xat
From the left bank of the Mekong to the right bank
His name signifies an undying spirit.
His fame is registered in a formidable Neo Lao combatting unit
And his life becomes our fighting flag
to recover what is us
- Lao LanXang.

.....
Chao Ratsavong
wherever you are,
we, Luk Lao Larn Lao,
will always be like you!


Hak phaang,
Kongkeo Saycocie
*****

A Sad History - Do We Learn Anything?

The theme goes
we never learn anything
never master anything
and never be anything.

Sixty years under the French
our hands are empty.
Thirty years with the American
our hearts are quiet.
And twenty five years with the Red
our souls are nul.

The so-called friends come and go
while, with us, we herald them
as if they were gods
doing nothing wrong.

Our people, own people
we neglect them,
kick them out
as if they were
disgusted creatures.

Don’t we think
it is too sad
the Lao rose flowers in another land
the Lao Champa never has a chance to bloom
and the Lao hybrid vegetates for no reason.

Isn’t it time
we left our nasty wounds behind?
Isn’t it proper
we embrace our arms around one another?
And isn’t right
we address our history as the new men and women?

A century under others
are long enough.
The time has come to strengthen our hands
widen our hearts
and nourish our soul.

Stop the theme
of never learning anything
never mastering anything
and never being anything.

Here’s my life!
Where’s yours?

Hakphaang,
Kongkeo Saycocie

*****


A true Lao to the end

"Serve us and be a great Siamese general
or die and be labeled as a traitor."
An ultimatum was issued
to the captured Lao general,
Phagna Narinh.
.....
Having fought bravely,
having shown what a star general of Chao Anou was like,
and having wrought havoc
to the heavily armed Siamese contingent;
Phagna Narinh held his head high.
He did all he could for the Lao side
with his badly outnumbered troop.

Phagna Bodin, the chief Siamese general,
pleased with the skilled swordsman of the Lao general
ordered his foot soldiers to capture Phagna Narinh alive.
He hoped that
the Lao general would be more than grateful
to turn side
with wealth and fame in front.

Being a trusted general of Chao Anou,
sharing his vision of a revival LanXang,
and being truthful to his Laoness;
Phagna Narinh delivered a memorable statement:
"If I were to have a hundred lives,
I would always die as a true Lao."

With his last words,
Phagna Narinh was cut to pieces
so ended his heroic life
but he is still very much with us
in our heart,
in our soul,
and in our commitment
to bring back the once great LanXang.

Now and then
whenever the Lao Isan taxi drivers pass by
the spot where Phagna Narin fallen,
they will blare their horns
saluting the great Lao hero.
......
Then and now
we, Luk Lao Larn Lao,
will always follow his footstep,
Phagna Narinh,
a true Lao to the end.

Hak phaang,
Kongkeo Saycocie

*****

The Unsung Heroes
 
For many centuries,
your blood drops,
paints the country red.
For many generations,
your hands extend,
feed many hungry mouths.
For many lives,
your sweat makes,
builds roads, temples, bridges...

But not a word for you
in the history book.
Not for you,
the foot soldiers.
Not for you,
the faceless farmers.
Not for you,
the back-bent workers.
But for them,
the behind-the-scene generals.
But for them,
the government people.
But for them,
the wealthy merchants.

Now, the generals have gone.
Now, the government people have left.
Now, the wealthy merchants have fled.
But you are there.
Still, lighting the torch over the grim sky.
Still, painting the rainbow over the horizon.
Still, nourishing the lifeblood of Lao-ness.

For many centuries to come,
let me lay the wreath on your dust-filled tombs.
For many generations to arrive,
let me shed my grateful tears for your sacrifice.
And for many lives to have,
let me be like you, my Unsung Heroes!

Hakphaang,

Kongkeo Saycocie
 
*****

Khuam Phen Lao

Years gone by...
hardly we know who we are.
Some say
we are of the same stock as Thai people.
We speak the same language (?)
We share the same ancestors (?)
and we follow the same religion (?)
therefore endorsing Thai culture is like endorsing Lao culture.

Others say
we are Lao Americans,
Lao French, Lao Canadians,
Lao Canadians or Lao whatever
not just Lao per se.
See Rock- n Roll is our music
Big Mac is our food
and blue Jean is our clothes.
In fact, we rarely speak Lao,
hardly think of Muang Lao as our home,
and care more about ourselves than our ethnic group.

Somehow, somewhere, a faint voice says
we are Lao, pure and simple.
Living in another country, yes we are.
Becoming citizens of a foreign land, yes we may be.
Whatever the fact is, we are Lao
not something else.

Time has passed, things have changed.
Still, some Isans still feel they are Lao
when they are insulted and looked down by the Thai.
Here, we are a legitimate Lao generations after generations
why take an easy way out
forgetting who we are.

Come, Luk Lao Larn Lao
wherever you are.
Eat Padek with pride,
play Khene with emotion,
speak Lao with an act of identity,
and listen to MoLum with your whole being.

Remember,
Khouam Phen Lao
is what you are.
Remember,
Hak Xeua Phaang Xat
is your raison d'etre of existence.

I, for one, am for all things Lao.
Who's with me?

--
Hakphaang,
Kongkeo Saycocie

*****

Now, we are no more

Once we were Tai
sharing the same blood with the Siamese.
Now, we are no more.

How could we?
Our glorious capital, ViengChan, was brutally demolished.
Our once great, LanXang, was eternally divided.
And our numerous people, the ethnic Lao,
was forced to leave their beloved homeland.

Yeah, let them continually insult us, put us down.
Yeah, let them take all the credits what our Lao heritage entails.
And yeah let them try to Siamize us
for hundreds and even thousands of years to come,
we were, are and will still declare ourselves Lao
unlike the Lanna people
refusing to be called what they really are,
what we really are,
a proud people distinctly different from the Siamese,
a civilized people no less spectacular than the Siamese,
and a great people who rather die as a true Lao
than a faceless turncoat.

Once we were Tai
sharing the same blood with the Siamese.
Now, we are no more.
Now, we are no more.

--
Hak phaang,
Kongkeo Saycocie

*****

The Roads that Never Cross

Being so close
only the Mekong River
separates us,
but we are so far apart.
That is what Lao and Thai are.

The Thai:
They raised YaMo
To the status of the divine Deva
What did she do?
Nothing! But a hoax
inventing to put the Lao down.

The Lao:
We are infuriated.
Why did they want to keep scratching at our wound?
Wasn’t it enough what they did to us?
What did we do?
We just wanted to be Lao
Proud of our Laoness.
Or is it only the Thai
Having the rights to be free?

The Thai:
Whatever they say
They coat their words with sugar
while plundering our country,
Seizing our land,
Swallowing our people,
And leaving us hollow
As if we had nothing of our own.

The Lao
Whenever we say
Satja guides our way.
Not even once
Did we invade their land.
Not even once
Did we destroy their people.
And not even once
Did we intend to deprive them of their Thainess.

It is like the roads
That never cross
Lao and Thai
Though close are far apart
Who is to blame?

Hak phaang,
Kongkeo Saycocie

*****

To be Lao

Know who you are
what breathes life into you?
what forms your consciousness?
and what troubles your heart?

If you don’t,
ask your elders,
read your Lao history books,
and go, plant your feet in the Lao soil.

To be Lao
is not just born
from the Lao parents,
is not just having
the look of a Lao person,
and is not just having
the ability to speak, read and write Lao.

Instead,
to be Lao
you need to feel the pain of your Lao ancestors
who were hauled across the Mekong river,
who had to dig Khong San Saeb,
and who were subjected under the yoke of the foreign rules.

To be Lao,
you need to ride on the high tide of Lao nationalism.
That is
vision-like Chao FaGnum,
tactful like Chao Sayasetthathirath,
and dedicated one’s life to the cause like Chao Anou.

Always remember,
it doesn’t matter
whether you are better off or just barely make a living,
educated or just plain folks,
young or old,
male or female,
the Left or the Right,
back home or abroad;
just commit yourself to the cause of Laoness
then to be Lao or not
you yourself will know!

Hak phaang,
Kongkeo Saycocie


*****

 


 

Where is your heart? 

 
 
 
 
One heart, one mind
 
we stand.
 
One heart, different minds
 
we are torn.
 
Hundreds of years,
 
we live as a people
 
proud to be called Lao
 
arrogant to be under the independent Lan Xang.
 
Now, nothing but a faint memory is left.
 
 
 
Too sad if I may say,
 
we don't know who we are.
 
Too pitiful if I may add,
 
we don't realize how great we once were.
 
And too pathetic if I may conclude,
 
we don't have a slight idea
 
what stake we have to play.
 
 
 
In the abyss of conscience,
 
our heart tells us
 
we are of a Lao ancestry
 
we embody the Lao national ethos
 
and we will live and die for the Lao interest.
 
"Don't listen to those foolish ideas"
 
Our different minds tell us.
 
We are here for ourselves.
 
We sweat for our own families
 
and we live just for our kids.
 
Who cares if the Lao kids in the countryside have no future?
 
Who worries if our Lao culture is being siamized?
 
And who concerns if Laos is ridiculed at?
 
 
 
I ask myself:
 
what is the use of accumulating knowledge
 
if one can't help one's poor folks
 
who need help the most?
 
what is the benefit of living in the developed country
 
if one doesn't use what we gain for one's underdeveloped country?
 
and what is the advantage of pondering about Lao issues
 
if one doesn't share in the joy and sorrow of one's own people?
 
 
 
I don't know
 
I am torn myself.
 
You and I might be materially well off.
 
You and I might be highly educated.
 
And you and I might be blessed with the technical know-how
 
but are these enough to be a complete human being?
 
Maybe, this is the fate of Quon Lao
 
past, present, and future.
 
Then how can one heart, different minds stand?
 
 
 
 
 
Hundreds of years,
 
we live as a people
 
proud to be called Lao
 
arrogant to be under the indepedent Lan Xang.
 
Now, nothing but a faint memory is left.
 
Where do I stand?
 
Where do we stand?
 
 
 
 
Hakphaang,
 Kongkeo Saycocie

 

The Wisdom of our ancestors


Our ancestors know

we are not the Thai

though speaking

the same language - kind of.

Our ancestors realize

we are not the Vietnamese

though adopting

the same politics - kind of.


Who are we, then?

A miniature Chinese

skilled in pratical matters?

or a prototype of the Indian

great in philosophy

and religion?

Maybe,

we are the White Man

in the process of transition?

Know what?

we are good at intellectualizing

and at separating ourselves

from our true selves.


Sad or glad to say

depending on your perspective

we are none of those.

Our ancestors tell us

and make sure that we know

who we are

through Siengkhene, Lum,

Padaek, KhaoNiew,

Sinh, so on and so on...


If you doubt

how great the Lao are,

just look at Wat Phakeo

and see its color, its magnificent structure.

If you are ambiguous about your role,

just envelopping yourself

in Wat Sisaket

and witnessing its defiant location.

Remember

our ancestors have built

and fought for us.


Never once did they think

of leaving this land

physically or emotionally

- this land where it is constantly on fire...

- this land where there is a warfare after warfare.

- and this land where forced relocation becomes the norm.

Why did they stay

when all was lost?


Here lies one key wisdom of our ancestors.

Just think

if the majority of them left the land

or even forced to leave

but didn't come back later,

what's going to happen to Muang Lao.

Can we confidently say

this land is still the land of Quon Lao?

In what rights can we claim that

the land we left behind is still ours

when not even one drop of our sweat is on it?


It won't be too late

if we start going back now.

Let's build what our ancestors have fought

to keep it for us.

Then we can proudly that

there is still a drop of our ancestor wisdom in our vein.

After all, we are not the Thai, the Vietnamese,

the Chinese, the Indian and, least of all, the White Man.

We are the Lao, the Lao and the Lao!


Hakphaang,
Kongkeo Saycocie

Just like a shadow
I have no shape, no form.
I am like a breeze flowing everywhere
but leaves no trace anywhere.

Do I have a name?
Of course, I do but does it matter?
I am just like a shadow following everyone
everywhere but hardly anyone ever notices me.

Who am I?
A name without a name,
a face without a face.
Why am I here?
I don't know.
Maybe to witness the folly of life.
Maybe to tremble at the heartless world.

Like a shadow I come,
and like a shadow I will depart.
No tears, no nothing left...

More poems can be found at http://angelfire.com/folk/panya05