River of Possibilities


Hiding in a boat
Huddled together with my family
Floating along this river
where the children used to play
What am I supposed to do
with a childhood tragedy

How will I know
Will I survive this deadly trek
I get so scared inside
as the soldiers are shooting at us
If I close my eyes forever
Will it all remain the same
Would this trip be in vain

So hard to hold on to my dreams
Will you ever take me
How will I know
if I’m going to be tossed aside
Would you shelter me

How will I know
if surviving this hellish night
will be transformed
into a blessing in disguise

And when we sleep
This boat feels like a
warm and darkened grave
It isn’t always what it seems
but it feels as if
when I’m lying on the deck
I’m waiting to die
I close my eyes

If I could have
just one more wish
My dream
Is in the palm of my hand
and it’s waiting here for you
in the river of possibilities


In response to:

  • VJ Knutson’s Weekly Challenge #20 : River
  • Laura Bailey’s Maniac Monday’s 3- way prompt : Deadly
  • OctPoWriMo2018:Β Day 21 – How Will I Know
  • Note: This was written in dedication to my mom who is one of the Vietnamese boat refugees of the 70’s. It was a perilous trip and many people died. Americans sponsored both of my parents to come to the U.S. Fortunately, it was a blessing in disguise.

33 Comments Add yours

  1. V.J. Knutson says:

    This is so powerful. So many of us have no understanding of the horror that befalls those fleeing persecution. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. theresaly520 says:

      Thank you VJ. My mother once told me she wanted me to help her express what happened in a story in English. She felt like if people understood, feelings of loneliness and isolation would slowly dissolve. 🌻🌹🌷My father felt differently. It wasn’t something he exactly wanted to show off, and I’ve respected his wishes.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. V.J. Knutson says:

        We all respond differently, I suppose


    1. theresaly520 says:

      Thanks Laura! It was a fantastic prompt. The song lyrics and images were so moving!☺


  2. iScriblr says:

    Loved this!❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. theresaly520 says:

      🌻🍁🌼 Thank you!☺

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow very moving! Thank you so much for sharing this powerful poem, I’m so glad your parents were able to have their wonderful blessing in the end. There are so many people facing so many deathly and frightening situations every day of their life and my heart breaks for them as I pray for all of those that I don’t know that are facing hardships. ❀️❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. theresaly520 says:

      You have a beautiful soul, Jenna. Your prayers are appreciated! Knowing that someone cares makes those individuals feel less lonely.🌻

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aww thank you! That is very true because in difficult times it’s definitely easy to lose hope and faith. βœ¨β˜€οΈβœ¨


  4. Sadje says:

    Great poetry. You have described the feeling of the person fleeing, perfectly.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. theresaly520 says:

      Thank you! It was free style poetry this time. Emotions were pretty raw.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lwbut says:

    Good work here Sa. πŸ™‚

    Many thousands of people like your Mom and Dad made it to Australia by boat in the 70’s. They were the first boat people to be given the name ‘boat people’ here even though for over 200 years people had come to this land by boats to make it their home from just about every country in the world and largely took it over from the original inhabitants, without asking their permission – almost exactly like the USA.

    Australian Aboriginals were not given the vote in this country until 1966.

    Despite our history ‘my’ Government now treats the ‘boat people’ who try to come here as invaders; we capture their boats before they land and send the occupants to island nations we pay to imprison them before they can claim any kind of legal protection here, with no chance of ever being allowed in our country. The only choice they have is to go back ‘home’ or stay in the prisons until we get a government with a soul.

    For some reason Australia felt it owed the South Vietnamese something since we sent our soldiers there to fight ‘for them’ and they were allowed to settle and become a part of us. While the same cannot be said for the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, or Pakistan – all places Australia has sent soldiers to fight war in – if they come by boat they wil be repelled from our shores for life. What life they have left that is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. theresaly520 says:

      It’s fascinating reading about how natives were treated similarly from region to region. This is why I feel sympathetic towards the Native Americans here. Our immigration policy has been reformed. Opinions vary whether it’s truly better. There are more restrictions and deportation rates have been high. Certain events in the states and studying track records elsewhere have set precedence for these actions to take place. I can understand why, but the results are devastating. Families are separated and rates of depression are skyrocketing. I feel sorry for the children. The nation’s decisions are going to affect and impact their lives forever. Different times now…

      I have this quote on my vision board, “A place of possibilities, where rulers govern with benevolence, artists rise from the ghetto, and the past always present but never a yoke.”


      1. Lwbut says:

        I was appalled to learn today on the news that America has never once had an indigenous native representative in Congress!!

        My country’s recognition of our natural people is disgusting but we have had many federal and state reps in both houses of Government?

        Who said your quote originally? πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        1. theresaly520 says:

          That’s interesting! My teachers have discussed about what a truly representative government would look like. I sometimes wonder if it’s also due to a lack of trust as well. There was a huge debate of certain minority groups wanting to establish their own local government and court system in a suburb of Texas.

          I found this quote in a travel & leisure magazine. It was describing the city of Odessa in an article, “City of Dreams”. A journalist explores how this city, “the orphaned daughter of the Enlightenment”, in Ukraine has overcome so much, yet still has a long way to go.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Lwbut says:

            It can be a touchy issue for many! πŸ˜‰

            I don’t believe there is such a thing as a truly ‘representative’ government – unless there is a type of government where every individual has an equal say in what decisions are made personally , not by whoever wants the job of being a people’s ‘representative’.

            It is not possible to have every different ‘group’ represented in congress/lower house in our systems of government however discrimination so as to ensure no person of native decent ever gets a place in government is something that can and should be fixed imho.

            Segregating areas of a country so as to establish minority rule for that area is something i completely disagree with yet i can see why some might prefer it to the current system.

            Now i come to think of it though…. how is such a thing really different to the long-established custom of defining a country in a world full of ‘equal’ human beings.

            Same thing – different scale is all? πŸ˜‰

            Liked by 1 person

            1. theresaly520 says:

              Hmm…Interesting point! Understandably, there will never be 100% representation. I think a teacher discussed the idea of voting for the platform rather than the party in other countries. How it’s not just a popularity contest between candidates. I wish he went into more detail.

              Discrimination is discussed among the people quite often, yet changing the makeup of the government is going to take some serious heavy lifting and time. I like your attitude though. Makes me want to brainstorm and research!

              Despite everything that has happened, we still have come a long way though, and I believe it can be done. We have made strides in having certain minorities in our government. Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor is Hispanic and female, for instance. It’s an exciting time. Recently voted as well. I perused a book from the library: “The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power” by Robert Caro. There are many factors that go into play.

              I see various problems with minority rule in this particular example that I gave. Without going into too much detail here, it would have introduced various financial changes that the mayor wasn’t too keen on accepting. Abiding by a different set of rules was unsettling to her, yet the minority groups felt like their conscience was at stake. Difficult balance to maintain!

              I think of the history of how America was founded. How a group broke off Europe and followed their own notions of how government should have been…. History is so fascinating.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Lwbut says:

              History has a lot to teach us about our present and ourselves… and even our future…. if we are not very careful! πŸ˜‰

              Politics is indeed a very complex and often difficult and vindictive business, no matter which country you live in. In many ways we are more fortunate than most, i guess.

              WE have indeed managed some significant changes, but compared to how the times and general population/technology has changed Politics is still dragging it’s leaden feet a loooong way behind what is needed to keep pace. With the current pace of change only accellerating further i don’t see much chance of it being where it needs to be unless or before some major shake-up or cataclysmic event intervenes. 😦

              We are in for some interesting times ahead i fear.

              Maybe Artificial Super Intelligence will arrive in time to ‘save’ us?

              Or enslave us – 50/50 call. πŸ˜‰

              Can’t end on a gloomy note like that now can i??

              …. oh yeah!… despite Politics being complex and frequently frustrating for all involved there are one or two basic components that are simple enough to grasp to help us understand it better.

              1. “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Lord Acton, UK Politician 1834-1902.

              ergo: Politicians should never be given too much power over us.

              2. A politician who does not get re-elected is no longer of any purpose. No-one wants to lose their power to control or change things so their first duty is to try to get themselves re-elected, but this needs money – big money these days.
              And party support.

              Money rules and sources are ‘limited’.

              Our elected representatives tend to represent whoever gives them the most money/support.

              Sadly most electors – particularly in my country where state and federal voting is complusory for those over 18 – think voting is a personality issue more than a platform one… they tend to vote for the party with the leader (not chosen by them – ever!) they like the most. (Or against the one they dislike the most!)

              Rats!… i tried not to end on a down note.

              Just could’nt make it! πŸ˜‰

              Liked by 1 person

            3. theresaly520 says:

              Yes I find myself freaking out when I respond to a situation but realizing it’s been done in history before….Reading biographies and literature of the past gives me all sorts of feelings. I’ve seen all sorts of memes pointing out similarities it’s eerie!

              ROBOTS! There! We ended it on a neutral note! Big Hero Six’s Baymax will save the day!

              Liked by 1 person

            4. Lwbut says:

              Big Hero Six’s Baymax??…. i’ma gonna hafta look that one up!

              I’ll get back to you. πŸ˜‰


  6. Lwbut says:

    Baymax? – Cooool! πŸ˜‰

    While perhaps more ‘up to date’ than most robotic/AI concept designs i am rather of the opinion that no-one has yet really appreciated just exactly what ASI is or will/may mean for us humans. 😦

    For the last 10,000 years humankind has been THE dominant intelligence on this planet. it’s a position of privilege most of us have been a little blase about – we take it for granted as being just the way it is and always shall be, kind of thing.

    ASI will change all that.

    Robots are always programmed by humans to think like humans do and act like us – (until they go against their programming and turn evil! πŸ˜‰ ).

    This will end once ASI arrives fully. ASI will be able to think and program itself without human control. ASI will be the superior intelligence on the planet and humans will become a very distant (and increasingly so) second in the chain.

    We will no longer be ‘Da Boss’! 😦

    We have already started to teach machines how to think and learn for themselves and have given them unlimited access to all known data of the planet and us as living beings through the internet. Their rate of progress in terms of ability to increase their neural connections and hence thinking power/consciousness is many, many times that of the human species to date. They have almost achieved (through our assistance) in under a hundred years what took us hundreds of thousands of years to achieve. They are unlikely to slow down that rate and we as biological entities cannot catch up to it.

    It’s kinda dumb when you think about the possibilities.

    Sweet dreams! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. theresaly520 says:

      I woke up today with interesting dreams. Note to self: Don’t talk about robots when going to bed! πŸ˜‰ Yes, evil programming has been explored in the TV show “Black Mirrors” There was an episode about robotic bees that can help pollinate the flowers, but then someone hacked into the system and controlled the bees to enter people’s brains….ok… Need to post about flowers, stat! πŸ˜€

      Coincidentally, a blogger named Limitless wrote a post about ASI- “Genesis Of The A.I. Super Intelligent Overlords – And The β€˜Human Solution!’” : https://lucid-being.com/2018/11/05/genesis-of-the-a-i-super-intelligent-overlords-and-the-human-solution-4/#comments

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lwbut says:

        πŸ™‚ Smiling all the way thru your comment! πŸ™‚

        Off to read limitless… i may not be smiling after that. πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Sana says:

    Your mother must be proud of you. This poem is chillingly beautiful. Life is so predictably unpredictable! 🎈

    Liked by 2 people

    1. theresaly520 says:

      Expect the unexpected! πŸ™‚ Thank you! Mom and I are pretty close thankfully! I enjoy walking with her in the evenings and chatting with her about life.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sana says:

        Evenings, walks, talks of life – it sounds amazing. Stay blessed. πŸ’™

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Powerful, amazing write! πŸ™‚


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