Read this to me
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Our battle was not with you,
And yet our scribbled words
Piled up like the sound of a thousand trumpets —
And the walls came a-crumbling down.
Most would clutch their ears
At the silent hertz,
Incessant despite the rubble —
For the walls came a-crumbling down.
Instead, you marveled at your fragments
And laughed at your matted dust,
Unbreakable and light.
Then you dared them cast your remains
At a non-existent wall,
To spare us muted marchers.
And the rubble began to sing –
These walls can’t a-crumble back down.
I pause mid-step — shocked
By the response to a wail I thought unheard.
I’m frozen by the fractures in your broken melody —
Red threads of pain to follow from the desert to the sea —
And these fractures, like a fingerprint,
Bind my wandering heart to thee.
You see, I didn’t need a fortress or a barrier barring pain,
But a broken heart to bleed with as I danced beneath the rain.
So with an unobstructed view, I begin to walk ahead,
Instead of marching circles ‘round the enemy in my head.
Assured that with you my side, I will break in pieces too —
And my walls came a-crumbling down.
I wrote this poem right after watching Namjoon’s “Behind” V LIVE on March 10,2020. When discussing “Louder than Bombs.” Namjoon mentioned that the line “louder than bombs I break” was originally written as “protective walls collapse,” and I found this image of collapsed walls stuck in my head alongside the tune of “Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho.”
During the V LIVE, Namjoon went on to explain his thought process when writing the lyrics of “Louder Than Bombs”:
I thought about letters. Letters that I received. It made me think about how I can embrace all the pain pouring out. Is it possible for a person like me to embrace their pain? It’s a question or a confession to myself.”Kim Namjoon
The lyrics of “Louder Than Bombs” hit me hard, perhaps because I am one of the many who have penned a letter to the members of BTS. A gesture that was simultaneously desperate, cathartic, and grateful delivered a gut punch, and now, ironically, I was getting gut punched back.
Thus ensued a complicated set of emotions, and — as I usually do when my thoughts are too convoluted to convert them into prose — I began to draft a poem. This poem is a dialogue, not just with “Louder Than Bombs,” but with several songs from BTS’s discography. And in many ways, it too is a letter. A letter from ARMY to BTS.
Hulme, K. (2020). To the walls that collapsed. The Rhizomatic Revolution Review , (1). https://ther3journal.com/.
Hulme, Katie. “To the Walls That Collapsed.” The Rhizomatic Revolution Review , no.1 2020. https://ther3journal.com/.
To the Walls that Collapsed by Katie Hulme is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Illustration credit: Michael Stradley, @mt_stradley