Migration by Phuoc-Tan Diep

When was the last time a poem took your breath away? For me it is the one by Phuoc-Tan Diep called Migration. It features on the back of an Evangelical Alliance booklet I received through the post.

The poem is a ‘cleave’ poem which is a form that is difficult to describe but some view it as a new and experimental form. See the Cleave website for a better explanation.

The poetry of Phuoc-Tan Diep can be found on his website where you can find ‘Migration’.

‘Migration’ was written specifically for the “Don’t be a stranger” initiative launched at this year’s Evangelical Alliance flagship event The Temple Address 2008, attended by The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu. As I said, the poem is included in the booklet accompanying this initiative and on the  “Don’t be a stranger” website.

I hope you don’t mind me including this in full Phuoc-Tan, but it did take my breath away. Keep up the good work! I am glad that through this cleave of yours I have discovered your blog at ‘Wake up, Sleeper’ and the cleave website.


Swifts and swallows leave – while I grasp for memories like

fruit – remnants of home

riddled with holes – my baby cools in my arms

dripping fermented juice – the milk from her mouth

sweet – sticks under my fingernails

under blushing trees – the guards, with eloquent guns, demand my  coat

those that can’t leave expect a cold winter – they smirk at my battered sweetbox

with its few hopes – inside are smuggled postcards of thatched houses

and promises – of English orchards.

One thought on “Migration by Phuoc-Tan Diep

  1. Dear Graham

    thank you,

    this poem is close to my heart
    partly a thank you to England
    and to its people for their kindness and generosity

    so I could choose life
    rather than death

    so I could choose Jesus
    rather than myself

    God bless

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