Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What I forgot

I forgot the words of my mother tongue
I forgot my tongue 
              letting my fingers click-tap black letters
              on keyboard 
I forgot hands and feet  
              sitting on my chair, reading world news
              so far away

I forgot language when I look at the sun
              coppery & lush in morning light
I forgot mornings with no sun 
              mornings with no light
              not coppery and lush, no

I forgot time
             was ticking bomb
             when things were not so good  
             when meals were the same canned goods
             when even the price of plastic bag was expensive 
I forgot how difficult it was to start over 
             I forgot difficult 
             and starting over    

I forgot weight 
             of missing shoes
             of a single luggage filled with all my worldly goods 
I forgot sizes
             how tiny a baby's foot is 
             how small I am against tree's giant palm
             how pitiful my worries are against child's
             hapless face

I forgot that darkness can grow as
             carnivorous plant
             preying with pitfall traps 
I forgot how a single sunflower & fist of golden rod
            can yellow the dreary woodland path
            with light so innocently pure
I forget words of my mother tongue

Posted for D'verse Poets Pub - Inspired by powerful performance of Loyce Gayo's How We Forget - Please join us as I host Poetics starting at 3pm EST.

Process Note:   I used, I forgot, to start my list poem to make it more personal to me.  

Thanks for the visit ~


  1. You really nailed the form of the list, where each sucessive thing builds on the next. It is like a chain. From the mother tongue - to tongue - to morning - to morning light - to... That is the skill in pulling these off, especially with spoken word. Linking thought to thought.

    I like how you switch it up doing related lists in the verses too.

    This starts solid with forgetting the mother tongue - its like forgetting our heritage. Or mother nature's tongue. I like how you wrap back to the beginning in the end as well.

    The sizes stanza is probably my fav, as the baby foot is endearing as is laying in the palm of a trees hand.

    Solid piece Grace.

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments ~ Sometimes I do indeed forget my humble beginnings ~

  2. This is amazing.. the way you tell the narrative, the personal story by relating what you forget... maybe there is a purpose of forgetting, but I think there is something so much more in remembering even if it's hard. Love how you relate it to your mother tongue..

    1. Thank you Bjorn ~ I felt this prompt was very difficult to do, but inspiring nonetheless ~ I am more appreciative of all my blessings now ~ I remind myself to never forget it ~

  3. Actually, this fabulous piece is a perfect illustration of your prompt. As I wrote on the dVerse comments, I burst off course & was inspired by spoken word poetry itself, gravitating to my default performance poet, Leonard Cohen. I misunderstood the advance promo from other sites, but I still fell into line with the spirit of the prompt; I hope. I like your lines /forgot how difficult it was to start over/forgot difficult/forgot starting over/.

  4. A great and strong piece. It's hard to remember things that pierced our soul but it's also good....to remember and appreciate how far we have come.

  5. Ah yes.. sadly many of us have soon forgotten the words of our beloved mother's tongue.. guess its lack of practice maybe. Beautifully executed.

    Lots of love,

  6. I love the layering from one line to the next, like here:
    "I forgot the words of my mother tongue
    I forgot my tongue"

    This is really one of the worst feelings in the world, forgetting your own tongue ... what it's like to speak freely.

    But yes, what your poem is really talking about is using our bodies and mouths in tangible, "hands-on" ways.

    This is my favorite part:
    "I forgot difficult
    and starting over"

    Very smart closing line: "I forget words of my mother tongue"

    To me, it says that all the rest came back to you. But this. This did not. The mother tongue. The mother-tongue. I love that this could have to do with your first language, or it could have to do with forgetting your tongue as a mother. This IS something that goes on forever in some ways. Or what if this poem is about a woman who lost a child, so now she has to "forget" the language of motherhood? So sad. To me, though, it's speaks more to the fact that as your children get older, you have to trust that you've done the best job you can in teaching them and have to let go some and stop telling them what to do all the time. At some point, they have to start figuring things out on their own, leaving the nest, so to speak.

  7. I will never forget my mother's language ... although I rarely speak in it to my children ... but when I do, they know I mean business ... smiles ... and I never forgot how tiny my babies' foot was ... as I still have her shoes ... her birthday would be Feb26 1986, her death day is Oct09, 1986 ... some important things one just doesn't forget, no doubt about it ... Love, cat.

  8. Forgetting does make more room in ones head. I sometimes forget to remember, but it's still up there somewhere

  9. There is so much that is forgotten in one's life really. Very sad to forget one's mother tongue, but I think this happens with many people who move from one country to another at a young age. It is also so easy to forget the times when life was not so good after a period of time. I like the personalism of this poem, Grace.

  10. WOW! I feel this way sometimes, in front of this computer, barely uttering sounds even at the catastrophes that more and more discard children as if we could live without them. I still speak my mother tongue, though, when I speak, if I speak, and that is the question, isn't it? How much of the unbearable does it take to cut off language, how much to bring it back again?

  11. Grace, this is a fantastic poem for a most wonderful prompt. I really really love this! I will give my head a shake and see what falls out! Maybe in the morning!

  12. beautiful, grace-fully stated !

    gracias, mi amiga

  13. i remember all of what is lost
    and found again.. i remember
    all of what is found again..
    lost again.. i forget then
    remember again
    now.. LOVEsMiLES..

  14. This is amazingly written, Grace. I read it several times now and each time a different line stands out to me. I noticed that I start to forget more the older I get and I'm not happy about it. But I guess rather than be sad about it I should just hold on to the most precious memories, maybe by just writing them down. Thank you for this inspiring poem!

  15. This is fantastic Grace. It reads almost like a stream of conscientiousness how smoothly you go from thought to thought to thought and yet connect them all. Beautiful.

  16. This is spectacular. I am deeply enamored of "yellow" as verb.
    And these lines:
    "I forgot how difficult it was to start over
    I forgot difficult
    and starting over"

    Her very language is leaving her...not just the feelings, but the way to describe them...the way to claim them (reclaim them) as her own.

  17. I love the overlapping layers in this piece, Grace.

    My favourite part...

    "I forgot sizes
    how tiny a baby's foot is
    how small I am against tree's giant palm
    how pitiful my worries are against child's
    hapless face"

    We can truly forget the simplest things....

  18. I find the personal turning into universal in the lines...love the sizes stanza most..this is an amazing poem....

  19. Really, really amazing Grace.
    I noticed now I forgot a lot of things!!

  20. my father never taught us his tongue. i really like the first two lines, how they draw us in, then your catalog which gets progressively more intimate and personal ~

  21. This is beautiful and really raw and emotionally evocative when you describe the baby's foot and the tree for me. We must never forget.

  22. Haejin, I forgot to breathe whi!e I read your poem---you had me in such suspense, what a powerful, beautiful poem. Impressive!


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