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What Happens

by Lael

What happens
when you are a child
with the songs of two nations within
Two lands,
one you’ve been raised in,
the other never seen
One where your appearance differs,
one where you match by blood

What happens
when you lose a part of yourself
when you forget
the language of your heritage,
a language of the land unseen
When your head is filled
with thoughts foreign,
with thoughts strange

What happens
when you grow up
American, and something else growing
Two seeds,
one your daily norm,
the other more familiar each day
One that you’ve loved for so long,
one that you see with newfound pride

What happens
when you find a part of yourself
when you decide to remember
the language you admire,
the language in the back of your mind
When your heart is filled
with proud feelings,
with a feeling of finally embracing

what has always belonged to you.

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37 Reviews

Points: 1605
Reviews: 37

Tue Jul 04, 2017 7:07 pm
AriannaC wrote a review...

Funny how I am literally writing a review for this on the 4th of July! This is going to be a speed review today, so it might not be very good. Anyway, I found that this poem was very deep and gets right to the point within the first stanza! Now, usually I don't like when people rush their poetry. However, I can tell that you did not rush at all. Bravo! Overall, this is really good and almost brought my stupid self to tears. Have a beautiful day/night! JESUS LOVES YOU!

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1315 Reviews

Points: 23536
Reviews: 1315

Sun Apr 30, 2017 2:42 am
Hannah wrote a review...

Dear Lael,

I was immediately drawn in by the description of this poem, because although it's not a situation I have to deal with personally, I have many, many friends who have similar thoughts and situations. Because it's not my own situation, I feel like I'll never fully understand it, but that with each poem on the topic I read or each essay I spend my time going through I can be a better friend. That is to say that when I am reading your poem, I am looking for a doorway into that emotional situation.

And I felt like your poem was getting toward giving me what I was searching for in the last two stanzas. The moment that I felt was especially strong was the line about "two seeds". The rest of the poem is really straightforward in terms of language, kind of like you're just writing a journal or personal essay but breaking it into lines. With that "two seeds" line, you're bending language and getting at an image that can describe your situation with emotional extras and lyrical sights that we don't get from a journal. I see the green seeds twisting inside you. I feel, without you stating, that there's a type of competition because there's only so much nutrition in the soil.

I also like the image you give in the final stanza of having the language in the back of your mind. I wonder what the poem would feel like if you described some particular moments where you were aware of that language being there, present, but never out in the front.

Also, if this is autobiographical, I feel like I want to so congratulations because it is brimming over with pride, relief, and happiness!

If you have any questions about this review, please PM me and let me know!

Otherwise, thanks for sharing, and good luck!



Lael says...

Thank you! I really am proud of my heritage, so this means a lot.

Hannah says...

:) It makes me happy to have been given the privilege to see that pride!!

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1080 Reviews

Points: 125
Reviews: 1080

Sun Apr 30, 2017 2:30 am
Kaylaa wrote a review...

This is Nikayla here dropping in for a review!

The first aspect of the poem that I noticed is that you decided to capitalize the first letter of every line. I don't see what this improves in your poem and suggest that you play around with something different, but ultimately it's your stylistic choice as to what you want to do with your capitalization and punctuation. I just don't happen to see any particular reason or sway to write it in this way, which is why I oppose it.

I'm not all that fond of the repetition that you use in this piece. It doesn't seem that there's a lot of thought put into why you chose to use this repetition. There's a lot more that goes into it than you think, and ultimately it affects how your audience perceives the poem. How often you decide to use repetition, the wording that you use, the structure of your repetition and the dead space between the times you use it all go into how the poem is perceived, whether its seen as that complicated or not. You don't seem to have a thematic way of repetition, which I believe could be beneficial to the piece.

The theme of the poem seems to be the biggest aspect that you focus on, and I believe that this is actually a positive part of the poem, for the subject matter that's here. It's the strongest part of the piece, and I'd like to see you build imagery and other poetic devices around it if you decide to edit through it. If you have any questions, feel free to ask! I hope I helped, and have a great day.


Lael says...

Thanks for your review! I'm not really experienced with writing poetry yet so I have a lot to learn. I agree about the capitalizing every line thing (I'm not very fond of that either but for some reason did that :(). In place of repetition, what would you suggest I use instead? Also, how could I add more imagery and depth to this, since my biggest focus was the theme?

Thanks again, and I'd love your feedback to change up my poem and make it better.

Kaylaa says...

I'm happy that you're so willing to learn! You don't have to use repetition in the piece and could just let it flow without it, or using it with more reasoning and then expanding with those details and images. I believe that maybe the question 'What happens' could be holding the imagery back a little bit, but for example, instead of saying "American, and something else too" you could say, "With the colors of two flags in your blood" or something that's more subtle yet gets the same idea across. Glad the review helped!

Lael says...

Ah, I see. I'll be sure to ask if I need more advice.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.
— Mark Twain