The other day in class we were discussing “trans-languaging”. That is, looking at one language, yet seeing the meanings and ideals translated across. For example, one of the most widely used languages in the world today is English. There are many reasons why people chose to learn English, be a speaker of English and there are the debates on the ownership of English now. What’s fascinating about English being an internationally used language in many different contexts, is that people, all over the world, use it differently for different reasons. Yoko Ono though, wrote poetry, poetry, that might not actually mean much at a first glance (if you’re not looking for it, or not a poetry fanatic, maybe) but on closer look, there is a deeper meaning to it. As part of my class the other day, we looked at My Hometown by Yoko Ono. The purpose was to look at “trans-languaging”.
Ono, writes about the notion of “hometown” and while reading it the first time round, I thought, it’s a nice poem, but it doesn’t quite relate to me. Because to me, I don’t have a “hometown”. I have a suburb where I go home to, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I see it in the same way as Ono has illustrated her definition of “hometown” in her poem. When I watched the video below, I actually understood better, her definition, watching the animation to fill in the spaces in my mind and knowledge of what “hometown” meant. And believe or not, I felt strangely enlightened. Not only was I enlightened, I read the poem again with different eyes, and this time, it was like a light that been switched on. This time, it was as though in my eyes, it was glowing. I was actually a bit stunned by this development.
So I would like to share this piece of “trans-languaging” with everyone, even if others have already read this, and I’m five hundred years too late (jokes!), I want to share what I have been inspired by! I think it’s very touching, and I think I might be more interested in Yoko Ono’s works from now on!
Do you know where your hometown is?
Your hometown is a place you choose.
Get a map of the world.
Pin a little flag on a place on the map you’d like to go to.
The place you’ve put your flag is your hometown.
Let’s find a way to make this flag something you’ll be proud of.
Start by giving your hometown a name you want to call it by.
Find out some things about your hometown
Make a scrapbook of images and people from your hometown, and add your comments about them
Look after your hometown in your mind.
Send it lots of love.
In your mind help anyone there who needs help.
If there are any broken-down houses, mend them in your mind
If there are any people who are ill, make them better in your mind
If any of the streets need cleaning, clean it in your mind
If there are any children who are crying, wipe their tears away in your mind
Find out about the past and present of your hometown.
If anything terrible has ever happened there, think about it, and try to take away the pain that’s still there.
If there’s something terrible going on there now, focus your thoughts on it, and try to take away all the pain.
Quietly tell your best friends about the problems of your hometown, and ask them to solve them in their minds.
Put up some nice photos of your hometown in your room.
Write a diary about your hometown.
Keep sending your powerful energy to your hometown until more people start to smile and laugh and enjoy themselves.
Keep going until your efforts start to make things better in your hometown.
One day we’ll realize that all the towns in the world are someone’s hometown.