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"VOICES" -- an editorial feature highlighting commentaries about Dr. Haing S. Ngor and Cambodia.   Your voice is welcome!

Reflections: Cambodia
Poems and Images by David Wenzel


Where Blue Sky Meets Brown Earth

the air is dry and thirsty
the sky, it holds no rain
the streets are brown and barren
in the hardship and the pain

above a life of sorrow
is a stretch of empty space
beneath the color of the heavens
are the tears upon your face

so cover me in earthen soil
let the dust clouds rise
i am but a lonely soul
longing for the skies

and the blue above the brown earth
is reflected on your face
and the smile in the sadness
is the beauty of this place


Find the Stillness

they come from all directions
every shape and ever size
riding down the highway
of the foolish and the wise
speeding toward tomorrow
or heading for demise

yes, many are the voices
of the faces on the street
and many the opinions
of the people you will meet

so in the traffic, in the noise
don't let it take a toll
you’ll need a little quiet
if you'll ever reach your goal
so find the stillness in the storm

the silence of the soul

Once a Child

once a smile, once a laugh
unfettered jubilation

once a tear, a sobbing cry
without a hesitation

once a song, once a dance
released imagination

once a shout, without a fear
abandoned reservation

once a hope, once a dream
beyond all comprehension

once so freely, once alive
no trace of apprehension

once a child, once a boy
a boundless revelation

once immortal, once no end

unhindered aspiration

The Stones of Angkor

we build our temples to the sky
and march on distant lands
we glory in the power
of the weapons in our hands

and in our finest vessels
we sail the deepest seas
our enemies, we scoff at
as they grovel on their knees

but the ancient stones of Angkor
lie in ruins 'neath the trees
the slow and steady crumbling
of such grand, majestic dreams

and the mighty walls of Angkor
are now trampled in the sun
children laugh upon the stones
whose strength has come undone

yes, in the end, the jungle brings
relentless spreading vines
and tears it all to pieces

in the steady grip of time

All the Forgotten

in the dead of night
in the silent skies
our memories will fail
like stars of light
that fade and die
behind a misty veil

but will they go
without a trace
lost in the gathering cloud
and can we slow
the steady pace
and still the rising shroud

that lovely face
that piercing smile
the mourners softly wept
and in the space
where sorrows pile
can but one be kept

in the dead of night
in the silent skies
yes, the faces fade like steam
but the spark of life
behind their eyes
we remember in our dreams


David Wenzel is an engineering consultant in Long Beach, California. He has had multiple opportunities to travel to Southeast Asia, including an extended 5-month stay in Cambodia.  His experiences among the cultures and peoples of Southeast Asia deeply impacted him and are often reflected in his writings.  These poems are inspired by reflections on Cambodia.  David continues to connect with the Cambodian culture through the community in Long Beach.



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