This poem is called “Tsúngmaiba.” (Translation: “It’s alright.”)

It is the first poem that’s definitely to be turned into a Vannoken folk song. There is a very unique mathematical structure to it that some may recognize. If you’re looking for a mathematical challenge, try to figure out what it is before reading beyond the poem itself, because I reveal it in this same post:


Bukana’i li; li béi ji
Feiko paru tsomen ínojo, ko li íkatara no tsomon bake aíva
Ton iro no akubei are ken

Jipaí karuda; jófo xúlin
Feiko wupar ujan li, li féi ban no óutomen
Tsomen xí’are xújanmen no góujan

Féijane zhou; féijane xo
Kan joui wuneimen dom féizhu ikamu, tsomen ujiko
Kamai, tsomen butan ijéixei uzhimei nit ojato

…jo tsúngmaiba.

Did you see what it was?

It’s a poem derived from vortex math: 3, 6, and 9.

Here are the lyrics again in English:

It’s alright.

Without a home; a wounded heart
Each path before us, to a shard of our shattered father
His blood of all the world

Bearing shame; released regret
Each piece for a price, an old man’s thoughts
We wear the scars of worthiness

Traveling high; traveling low
With new bricks from ancient soil, we rebuild
Though, we can never be the same again

…and it’s alright.

A lízho (or “lízhomen” for plural), also called a “vortex poem,” is based on a strict structure of 3, 6, and 9.

They are meant to be poetic letters to someone you care about. It can be anyone. The basis of your message must be spoken in a total of 3 syllables. This can mean one word worth 3 syllables, or 3 single-syllable words, or even two words (one worth two syllables, while the other is worth one). But, overall, the heart of the message you’d like to convey must be within 3 syllables at the start of the poem.

Then, those 3 syllables are followed by 3 stanzas worth 3 lines each, which equates to 9.

At the end of the poem, the key message is repeated a second time (and only twice, throughout the entire poem). This makes 3 x 2, which equals 6.

3….6… and 9.

Like Nikola Tesla believed that 3, 6, and 9 held the keys to the universe so to speak, I believe that in many ways we reflect the universe itself. So, the key to understanding the universe is within us, our perception of it, our willingness to look deeper within ourselves and outside of the limitations of our perceptions in and of themselves.

Thus, one is meant to take a moment of reflection to understand what’s being communicated in the vortex (or lízho) poem. To look both within and without themselves to the multiple meanings and ways the poem can be interpreted.

This poem, in particular, is speaking to future generations of my bloodline and tribe. It reflects the journey I’ve had to take around the world, from having joined the military and as a civilian, on the Jungian/Campbellian Hero’s Journey to collect the metaphysical shards of my father in the form of wisdom.

Let’s review the lízho and break it down, stanza by stanza:

Without a home; a wounded heart
Each path before us, to a shard of our shattered father
His blood of all the world

The reason why the Vannoken tribe formed, to begin with, is because we were people of fractured origins. A combination of war and slavery eradicated our language and culture. We are neither truly Asian, nor European, nor African. We are something of a mix in between all three, considering American history.

So, being without a home is both literal and metaphorical alike. This stanza reflects being without a literal home, being forced to wander the world without the support of a stable family; thus, one has a wounded heart.

At the same time, one finds themselves without a cultural home, without a singular cultural root to call one’s own.

So, what is occurring in the poem is a reflection of the many shards of the father’s blood, being a reflection of being a mixed-race person before the ideation of the Vannoken tribe, who travels to each corner of the world reflecting some element of their bloodline’s history: Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Bearing shame; released regret
Each piece for a price, an old man’s thoughts
We wear the scars of worthiness

The second stanza reflects what it takes to gain each shard of the father. Wisdom is, in and of itself, a kind inheritable wealth. This is why history and culture are important. One can be born intelligent, but there are limits to raw intelligence that can be covered by wisdom, for even smart people can do stupid things without having wisdom.

Intelligence and wisdom may overlap, but they are not one and the same.

This stanza is speaking about bearing shame, what it means to endure what it feels like to be laughed at as you undertake a new path that others either can’t comprehend or are secretly too cowardly to undertake themselves.

It also means bearing the shame of one’s ancestors’ failures to have led one into inheriting a fractured sense of cultural identity, in the first place. So, one is bearing shame of multiple forms on this journey of renewed identity.

To regain each piece of wisdom that was lost to history as one travels the world, a price must be paid. A price of embarrassment. A sacrifice of time and effort. Great risks, in general.

When one faces any given metaphysical dragon to claim the treasure of wisdom in the lair, the dragon may indeed scar you for life in return. You cannot expect to face the dragon and leave without being scathed.

A similar, if not the same, journey is reflected in the story of Odin in Norse mythology, how he was a nomad traveler who sacrificed his eye and hanged himself from a tree for wisdom. Though, the iconography is not just limited to Norse culture; the story of the Buddha reflects the same kind of journey. This poem is not religious in nature; it’s meant to reflect a kind of universal storytelling found in cultures throughout all the world.

For instance, the concept of a “shattered father” and the rebuilding of a culture can also be found in the story of Horus, of ancient Egyptian culture. Or, even in Disney classics like The Lion King, and subsequently Shakespearean classics like Hamlet.

As you reclaim each piece you need to rebuild your culture, you may find yourself speaking “an old man’s thoughts,” making you sound like an old conservative that the youth tend to dislike and rebel against.

But that’s just it: elders are often more correct about what is good for a culture than the youth like to admit.

So, “it’s alright,” if you start sounding like an old person, saying things an older person would say about preserving your culture: this is natural. Wisdom is the way of the old.

Traveling high; traveling low
With new bricks from ancient soil, we rebuild
Though, we can never be the same again

The final stanza reflects how, at the end of the hero’s journey, after traveling high and low to all of the corners of the world to reclaim the pieces of his shattered father, he now has all the pieces he needs to rebuild his identity.

Though, what was once shattered can never be quite the same again, even if rebuilt.

For instance, Vanno itself, our language, can be thought of as one of the pieces of the father: the tongue (with consideration for many others). I first had to learn the mechanics of many other languages (Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, English, Old Norse, etc.) which are all “pieces” that we’ve used to “rebuild” our language.

But, Vanno is neither Chinese, nor is it Old Norse.

Vanno is Vanno, and it can never be considered any of the other languages from which it’s derived.

You can apply the same pattern of logic to every other piece that makes the Vannoken tribe, from our poetry, to our very names and traditions. All of them derive from or contain pieces of different cultures…without being the cultures themselves.

The 3-syllable message of the poem is “It’s alright,” to tell the future generations that what they will go through in the process of rebuilding themselves, such as being laughed at or doubted, is all a part of the journey.

It’s alright. Keep going.

Keep trying. Keep building. Don’t worry about others. Let go of the fear. Become something new.

Become what you are and can be, not what others were.

It’s alright.

What are your thoughts on our developing poetry?