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Poem by Alysa Sim 2E/20

Updated: Nov 26, 2021

Love exists in forms aplenty,

And in every culture there are more than many.

It flows through us,

Both through our veins,

And deep within our hearts and souls.

Though the world may change,

Day by day,

Some things we’ll just never let go.

Language is a both a barrier,

And also a loving carrier,

Which sets us worlds apart.

It carries more memory than meaning,

And with words that could mean everything,

It can also warm the heart.

But language is expression,

More than anything.

It could carry loving confessions,

Or simply sweet nothings.

Disconnection from our blood is easy to find,

But nothing will ever stay like the heritage of our kind.

Memory, is but a legacy that holds unbending and true,

In future generations, culture we should undoubtedly imbue.


I wrote the poem based on my feelings of my mother tongue, culture, and language in general. In essence, I feel that every culture, every family, and every person has their own unique way of expressing emotions, and particularly love. I feel that love is more complex than a word or a meaning, and to love is a very raw, human action. It is natural, in that we aren’t born knowing how to speak, or knowing about our culture and history, but rather we are born with the ability to love, which I think allows it to transcend culture or even language. It is an incorrigible part of human nature, something that most don’t lose as they grow up. Many lose sight of their roots, of their cultures, as we enter the modern world and are faced with westernisation. But we never forget how to love, and what it is like to be loved. Oftentimes, people express their love differently, in their own ways, and many people choose to use words, and even different languages. As I once thought of in a dream, language is a necessary barrier to overcome in order to reach some of the greatest treasures in this world. But to add on to that, it also gives us an added element of intrigue, of being able to access new words that do not even have a concrete meaning as you understand it. Though English is one of if not the most spoken languages in the world, there are so many other languages with such elegant complexity to their words, and even short phrases can mean so much more than they would in English. To be able to reach a word with a depth of complexity that you cannot express usually, through the means of understanding and forming a connection to different languages, is something extremely meaningful to me. Words are so much more than their meanings, and to us, they could mean something completely different to another person. As humans we often connect unconscious meanings to things, as shown with words. A great deal of the time those meanings are tied to memories we have, be it positive or negative. One example would be pet names. Hearing a random word might not invoke much emotion in any other person, but to people who have connected sentimental meaning to said word, it could mean much more than itself. I personally have a nickname for my sibling which will not be disclosed, but if I shouted it out loud, I would likely be seen as mad, or mildly insane. But to her, it is synonymous with a name. It is a call to her, which would mean absolutely nothing to most other people. Which is the reason why I find that language in general is so important, because of what we make of it. It becomes so much more than just itself in a way that is hard to express, because humans are complex creatures. It can often act as a barrier to communication, but it also helps us to find different ways to express ourselves while stepping outside of our comfort zones, by exploring methods of communication that do not even use language. As I said in my poem, language is expression, and for me expression means an incredible amount to people in the modern world. We have come up with all sorts of creative and inventive ways for us to express ourselves, like fashion, media, etc. But language has been there all along, and people often overlook the importance of language, and the power it holds. Simple words, and short phrases, can make or break a person’s day, or have long lasting effects with major impacts. A quick “I love you”, before a loved one steps out of the house, a quiet “Welcome home” when they return. Such small things could mean the world to a person. Stepping away from language on a more personal level, culturally language is part of the lifeblood of a culture. It is in that language, you will see the written traditions, the tales of heritage, and cultural practices being written. All of these are things that I find pertinent to the continuation of humankind. Though to keep close to one's roots in the modern day is a great struggle as I have previously mentioned, I think it is vital that we instil in future generations the stories of culture, heritage, and the importance of languages.

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