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Poem from When Broken Glass Floats


Please Give Us Voice


When Broken Glass Floats, a nation drowns,
Descending to the abyss.
From mass graves in the once-gentle land,
Their blood seeps into mother earth.
Their suffering spirits whisper to her,
“Why has this happened?”
Their voice resounds in the spirit world,
Shouts through the souls of survivors,
Determined to connect, begging the world:
Please remember us.
Please speak for us.
 Please bring us justice.
~ Chanrithy Him
Union College Professor Bunkong Tuon analyzed "Please Give Us Voice" in his sophisticated article ("The Ghostly Presence in Chanrithy Him's 'Please Give Us Voice,'" published in Mosaic: a journal for the interdisciplinary study of literature, Volume 47, Number 1, March 2014, pp 145-160.

Echoes of Resilience: A Reader's Tribute Poem to When Broken Glass Floats: Growing Up Under the Khmer Rouge

Hi Chanrithy,...Your memoir, When Broken Glass Floats, profoundly impacted me after discovering it in Siem Reap and reading it in Phnom Penh. The insights into Cambodia's war and your survival story are compelling and heartbreaking, particularly after visiting the killing fields. I've penned a poem in honor of your bravery, and in memory of all the children affected by the war.”

~ Liby Pueblos, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - April 15, 2013


*I Shall Be Brave*

I am next in line

What will become of me

I had long since feared death

But it frightens me no more

Now, more than ever, I shall be brave.


Take me back to the time

Before they took Pa away

And returned with the news of his death

Before they sent Mak to hospital to heal

Why was she buried alive with the dead?


Take me back please, if you can

To the time when I can just be who I am

Am I not only a child who wants to play

And go to school, and learn and read

And be back home at the end of the day?


Forget me not please, I beg

Tell me your time is different from mine

No more suffering, no more war

Tell me, have the elders finally learned

That anyone who pains another will lose in the end?


Let the moon and the trees be my witness

Pa and Mak, I shall be brave tonight

For in my heart, I well believe

They may have killed my hope for another day

But never had they broken my will to live.

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