(ISSN: 1527-5467)
the magazine of Literature & Literature-in-translation.


JUL 2005














††††† †††††††††††THANH TON

†††††††††††††††††† _______________________________


††††††††††††††††††††† RESPONSE


†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††Translated by N. Saomai




The day you left I was really little,

knew nothing, just smiling the goodbyes

But still I remembered when the boat turned

the waves, in that blue river, rose to see you off.


You dreamt of new horizons, I the studies

But a faded friendship there would never be.

Your poem as a lament for our times

recalled the long past to my mind.


A nostalgic walk I took down memory lane

Oh yes, the blue river, bright moon, and

the bamboo hedges that stood round our village,

the shore where boats lay,

the mountain for covering clouds awaited

and red fireworks, pink wine, holidays and Tet.


All those old days were now memory

Trau Dam bank, Ba Doi bridge mournfully

remained. As time insisted to take away with it

the existence of us all. And butterflies and birds.


And Bich, and Ngan, and Ha, and To

were all gone, leaving no vestige of youth.

They became a strange Thu Ha, a funny Ngoc Bich

wandering through those city streets.


And young frail Dao, toothless Hai, skinny Thi

all were en-route to defense our country.

As you knew already

When you old bamboos died,

they were the shoots to rise:

Forever mingling with the mist the lullaby.


The wine I took not, but drunk already

as far-distant old days came alive in me.

The song that lulled my childhood also

lulled the first love Iíve known: The love

for our country, the voice of Life.


I admired you for forgetting not the days

of old. Your love was inextricably bound

to our homeland, that you put it away

something you wanted to say.

Sad you might feel, or you felt not

when she was now married?


(Translated by N. Saomai from the Vietnamese text in

Thanh Toníspoetry collection ĎThap tinhí published in 1969 in Vietnam)



The Writers Post
the magazine of literature

& literature-in-translation,

founded 1999, based in the US.




Editorial note: Works published in this issue are simultaneously published in the printed Wordbridge magazine (ISSN: 1540-1723).

Copyright © N. Saomai 2005. Nothing in this magazine may be downloaded, distributed, or reproduced without the permission of the author/ translator/ artist/The Writers Post/ and Wordbridge magazine. Creating links to place The Writers Post or any of its pages within other framesets or in other documents is copyright violation, and is not permitted.


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