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


JUL 2006



           MAI VAN PHAN



          three poems by  MAI VAN PHAN

                  translated by Do Xuan Oanh




The night spring begins


Waiting around the lamp

light spreads, interruptedly

believed someone holds a torch

to examine the face of each one.


Cooking up game to kill time :

on whom the light sheds

that person calls the way spring begins.


The following words are noted down :

The cold shirking bird makes arrow

fall down the wall of winter.

Looked through window the face

suggests scrawling handwriting

A drop of dew splits

tender grass foot into abyss…


Jesting stories

callously relate to heaven and earth

Things move themselves

unsteady mountain shadow

Bird moans that wind changes season…


Pulling up lamp wick

Flocks of arrows swift through the roof.



Selecting a scene


In the dream lying down on sea

resting head on your arm


You think the sea here is 8 meters deep

(I can read the thought)

with a mass of cloud and albatross


I bring dream to the street

at breakfast think of myself as a piece of Jew’s ear

boiled in the bouillon pot

a pot of 8 meters deep


Visiting friend in narrow alley

the house plate resembles Jew’s ear in bouillon pot 

friend’s voice resounds from 8 meters deep


Close the door a bit since cold

vague damp vapor soaks quite deeply


Distance is seen from stool foot to statue

sound of wood-borer comes as quick as lightning

among faces in alien noodle soup inn…

equal to distance between mass of cloud and albatross 

extremely beautiful over 8 meters deep



My brother


At the moment of having one foot in the grave, he asks me to help keeping the memories. He said they are precious data. But the stock of my memory is already brimful, even mouldy, rotten. I advise him better to paint or write book. But he is not writer, nor painter. I bring up several other solutions : cut to pieces, restart, reduce in size, suddenly stop, simmer well, crush into powder…


He looks at me very sad !


I look at the river water changing its color and skimming through the drooping grass bank. Alluvium is glossy and fine. The moon rises early, innocent with a whiffing of straw. Miss my sweetheart terribly.


He looks at me very sad !


The recently washed dress is all wrinkled and silently smells without I know it. Then the thin threads of stuff are again neat and smooth under the burning iron. Wash-iron, wash-iron…Life sometimes resembles a too old clock pendulum…I learn to think idly so that thinking could be continued.


He looks at me very sad !


He waits as I wash my hands. The tap flushes hard, very clean, extremely fresh. Pity him. I look at the soap suds turning muddy on the smooth wet skin and feel really comfortable.



                                                 MAI VAN PHAN


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).


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