Sabine-HUYNH-fiche Photo by Anne Collongues.

By Sabine Huynh

It’s hard not to think
of a place where dogs met
their fate on railway tracks
or in unkempt backyards
where a father with chapped lips planted
tulips around a dying cherry tree
where a mother’s screams scared
dust and kids into dark corners
where children watched T.V.
in the garage – why in the garage? –
where they played with a wheelbarrow
inside, and paper cut-outs
outside, yet they lived in town
it’s hard to ignore
a fact like that

I can only think of it here
facing the sunny Golan heights
with hummingbirds punctuating
my glum memories with gaiety
and cows’ mooing filling up
the deep valley of the past
a flying ant above my head
a white falcon perched on my thumb

if I thought of it there
where it all happened
I’d turn into that
silent child again
and never come back
but I’m here now
I have opened the windows
to let the landscape in
and the childhood out.

(Today’s poem originally appeared in Cyclamens and Swords and appears here today with permission from the poet.)

Sabine Huynh is a Vietnamese-born poet, novelist and translator. Raised in France, she has lived in England, The United States, Canada, and Israel. She writes in both French and English. Her poetry and her poetic translations have appeared in various literary journals and anthologies. She is the author of a poetry anthology, a novel, a collection of short stories, five poetry collections (four in French: two were published, two await pending publication; and one in English, not published yet), and she has translated four poetry collections (from Israel, Canada, and England).

Editor’s Note: In today’s post Sabine Huynh manipulates everyday language to transport us to a vivid past. There is a darkness beneath the light of the poem, and questions remain unanswered—buried—as the poet wants them to. But readers and the poet alike are given permission to let go of haunted memories, to make the life we want for ourselves when Huynh opens the windows for us all, “to let the landscape in / and the childhood out.”

Want to read more by and about Sabine Huynh?
Sabine Huynh’s Official Website
The Ilanot Review
Reiter’s Block
Additional poems in Cyclamens and Swords
Sabine Huynh’s English-to-French translations of an SPS favorite, Dara Barnat


  1. Yes! ‘I have opened the windows and let the landscape in and the childhood out,’ a simple, albeit pithy little line! Thank you (two), too.


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