Wednesday, September 07, 2016

[Poem] On a Stairway in Luang Prabang

Today President Obama is in Luang Prabang, so it seems a good day to revisit my poem that was a part of the London Summer Games in 2012. This was the same year he was also campaigning for re-election in the United States. 
 This poem first appeared in my book Tanon Sai Jai in 2009, after I received a Fellowship in Literature in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, the first Lao American to hold this distinction.

On A Stairway In Luang Prabang

Step as you will through life,
A thousand ways, a thousand places.

Carry a home in your heart
Or spend years seeking the door
Where your soul will always smile.

Do you ease the way for others,
Or just yourself?

Do you climb great mountains
Just to leave them unchanged?

One day, the heights of holy Phou Si
Will lay as soft valleys.
We, only memories.

But our children's children?

Will they, too, have reason to smile,

Like those dreaming strangers
Who finished their stairs for us?

I previously blogged that you can also see the Thai translation by Joy Panigabutra-Roberts or the French translation by Edouard Dupas at his blog.  Kongkeo Saycocie provided a Lao translation in the contemporary Lao format.

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