THE WRITERS POST
VOLUME 7 NUMBER 2
††††† †††††††††††THANH TON
†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††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 Tonís† poetry collection ĎThap tinhí published in 1969 in Vietnam)
The Writers Post
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.