Peace with the Past

delaney risse
2 min readMay 10, 2021
Photo [CC BY-ND 2.0] 2015 by channing.wu

lê thị diễm thúy is the author of the poem “sans papiers,” a poem written in response to The Swimming Pool by Henri Matisse. It is hard for me to interpret poems and their meaning because I am someone who likes to rely on facts and what is known, but sometimes readers of poems do not know what the poet meant to write. Nevertheless, I decided to let this poem mean whatever it meant to me.

The line that I particularly liked was when lê thị diễm thúy writes to “feel the past course through you.” Learning from my past experiences is something I try to live by. I do my best to live without regret, but rather be grateful for every experience whether it is a mistake or not. I think there is a lot that can be learned from the past, but it is also best to not dwell on it excessively because this can lead to feelings of stress and moments of “what if,” which are worthless because the past has already happened.

I love the idea of feeling the past course through my body. I can relate to this feeling but do not know how to specifically describe it because I think it is different for everyone. However, becoming at peace with the past is an amazing feeling.