THE WRITERS POST

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

VOLUME 7 NUMBER 1

JAN 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 PHAN XUAN SINH

_______________________________

 

DRINKING WITH A NORTH VIETNAMESE SOLDIER

 

Transl. By Kevin Bowen & Nguyen Ba Chung

 

 

Pour me another drink, buddy

This is an occasion I'd like to savor

Letís not think about tomorrow

Forget tomorrow, let's enjoy this moment/today

What soldiers aren't frightened at the moment of battle

Some pee in their pants

 

Like you I have a young sweet heart/girl friend

Eying anxiously at the gate at home

Death or life is an intractable disease

It isnít easy to escape one's lot

We soldiers today carry no hatred

††††††††††† Friends or enemies there arenít any line

 

Letís drink. Leave all problems behind

We might even have a couple more rounds if we could

Why do we have to play the game of blood

to give water to the seeds of hate

Fie! I am sick of all these nonsense tricks

†††††††††††† Playing games that we both lose

 

Your sweat heart lives far away in the north

Is she now busily hiding from the falling bombs

or anxiously eyeing the southern front

fearing her lover would return a martyr

And she will learn to forget, like so many things

love has to be treated like an ornament

†††††††††††† even if one/she has to lie to admit it

 

This round of drinking today, I'll have to get drunk, buddy so that in that stupor we don't have to see each other asenemies.

 

 

 

††††††††††† WAITING FOR SPRING

††††††††††††† BY THE ROADSIDE

 

Transl. By Kevin Bowen & Nguyen Ba Chung

 

 

By the side of the road, I stand, waiting for spring

In a world upside down, churning with sorrows

From what's left, can we give each other enough space

††††††††††††† like the vastness of the sky that never ends

 

The street is now completely deserted

Spring hasnít come but there's the moon

I do not know where I will go next

The moonlit path is buried deep in the snow

 

Leaning against a corner I can see

I am swimming in a sea of thirsts

Here comes the spring. Should I shout

Or turn my back, hiding behind a shrub.

 

 

LIVING LIFE A MISTY VAPOR

 

††††††††††††††† Transl. By Kevin Bowen & Nguyen Ba Chung

 

 

Blasts of hurricanes shook the earth

And I a small bird losing/flailing its way

Death specter came near and quick

How many mountains could an ant climb?

 

Rifles and butts, sweat and despair

A world darkened by fits of terror

Arrests and prisons, roads and dead ends

††††††††††† How many frontier passes without/

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† [I didn't leave] a footprint?

 

What voice I still hear now, midnight?

What wailings of ghosts still ring my ears?

The price of clarity is immense sadness

††††††††††† Could I mend, even a bit, the old wounds?

 

In the new land, my hair is turning white

The old village roofs disappear in the distant mist

A life half drawn of a bad lot

††††††††††† The other half lives with the old nightmares

 

Is there a home the old bird could return

Or has it been lost to the myth of time

And I condemned to relive the broken past

Living life a misty vapor.

 

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† PHAN XUAN SINH

 

 

THE WRITERS POST (ISSN: 1527-5467),
the magazine of Literature & Literature-in-translation.

††††††††

VOLUME 7 ISSUE 1 JAN 2005

 

Editorial note: Works published in this issue may be simultaneously published in the printed Wordbridge Magazine Issue 6 January 2005 (ISSN: 1540-1723).

Copyright © Kevin Bowen & Nguyen Ba Chung 1999-2005. Nothing in this issue 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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