National Poetry Month + Poem of the Day

Hi there! I know, I haven’t been posting for a while, I’ve just been super busy lately! 🙂

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? Poems are just amazing, because they can express so much. They take words that mean nothing, and change them so that those words mean everything. So here’s our poem of the day in honour of National Poetry Month.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

– Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson is one poet I really admire. And yes, this may be one of her most known poems, but it’s also one of her more striking ones. If you need any clarification, it’s talking about hope. She says in this poem that hope is inside all of us, and never stops being there, if we only have the courage to find it. Hope is truly one of the more beautiful things in this world, and that we can have it anywhere, even in the “chillest lands” and “strangest seas.” And yet hope is completely free. It costs us nothing, and will always be there for us. ❤

Happy April! 😀

-Yasimone

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Book Review || Inside Out & Back Again

Author: Thanhha Lai

Hà lives in Saigon— a city of celebrations, papayas, open-air markets full of exotic food, magic crepes filled with shrimp and bean sprouts and cucumbers, quiet prayers with burning jasmine incense and clear bell rings from a brass gong, sadness and joy. That is all she has known her entire life, along with her brothers, Quang, Vû, and Khôi. But the Vietnam War is slowly approaching, and the ever-present roars of bombs in the distance grows louder every day. People are fleeing, including Hà and her family. They secretly depart by ship, crammed to the brim with other refugees, living off ration rice and water and trying to make the best of their small, unsanitary quarters. For what seems an eternity, they stay on the water, and finally— as though it is a miracle— they are rescued. They stay on Guam for a little bit, and then are transferred to the United States. A sponsor from Alabama (who Hà believes is a cowboy) offers to take the family in. Hà must adjust— going to school, dealing with her mean classmates, learning English from a friendly neighbour, and, eventually making friends and learning to stand up for her family, her culture, and herself. She and her family must also say a symbolic goodbye to Ha’s father, who was missing in action for 10 years, and slowly accept their new life— blending old and new traditions together.

Inside Out & Back Again is a gorgeous and very memorable story written in free verse poetry. It has a very authentic voice to it— probably because much of what happened to Hà happened to the author, Thanhha Lai, including being forced to flee to Alabama, a strange state in a strange land with a strange language to learn. Hà’s narration is clear, describing emotions in a childlike (not childish) yet sincere way. This book perfectly illustrates many of the struggles immigrants face in a new country. And not only is it about adjusting and accepting, but also family and love. A book full of pain, but so much more hope. ❤

-Yasimone