Patinas of Saigon

A strong identity
Rooted in a deep tradition
Constantly overlaid
With new stories and voices,
Creates a sensation
Of accelerating memories
Of a colonial past,
And the American War.

City streets transform
Elegant shop fronts
Replace old incense scented alleys
Once brimming with
Shimmering shot colours
of lacquer-ware and silk.
Yet memory traces
remain.

Inside spills outside,
Behind postmodern facades
Alleys and places
Transparent to all who pass by,
Where women gossip and
share lunch on the cool floor.

A girl eats, laughing with mother and aunts
Oblivious of all who pass by.

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2 thoughts on “Patinas of Saigon

  1. ‘A strong identity
    Rooted in a deep tradition
    Constantly overlaid
    With new stories and voices,’

    A palimpsest of tradition hidden behind a ‘postmodern facade’ … yet the truth of the place is still there to be seen ‘where ‘women gossip and share lunch on the cool floor’ … two incredible lines of poetry.

    I love this poem … couldn’t stop reading it over & each time I did something new surfaced. Your words really did capture me.

  2. i could FEEL tHe layers of the first stanza here, one of those rare occasions where the words become a true visual tactile piece of art …and the humanity of the scene at the end is so touching and helps complete the conveyance of one of the views of the city….so good ,M.

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