THE WRITERS POST
VOLUME 8 NUMBER 1
translated by Vu Dinh Dinh
Afternoon sun sets across the field …
Amidst a quiet garden a young girl is folding
the betel leaf.
In the air, a lonely spider is deftly spinning.
My dear! Go to sleep… I will serve you with this fan,
Which is open wide as my heart.
Hundreds of beautiful birds hover above
To make you sleep a peaceful dream!
Sleep well, my dear! Soft breezes rustle through rows
As tall trees cast their long, languishing shadows.
Time and time again, have broken hearts mellowed
Please place your head on my arm
So I can hear the heavy drops of sorrow …
nắng chia nửa
bãi; chiều rồi
Translator’s note: I wish to thank Miss Ngo Mai Kha, Xuan Dieu’s niece, who told me that I had misunderstood the word “trinh nu” in line two of the poem. She said “trinh nu” does not mean a virgin woman but refers to a plant when touched the leaves of which droop and close. After having looked up the word in dictionaries and talked to several elderly North Vietnamese, I found that in North Vietnam the plant is only known as “cay xau ho”, which literally means the plant that is shy. In Central and South Vietnam the plant is popularly known as “cay mac co” (shy plant) and in literary circle “trinh nu” (virgin woman). Actually, the full literary name of the plant is “trinh nu thao” (plant that is virgin). The common name of the plant in English is sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica) from Central America. I believe Huy Can, who was born in Central Vietnam but spent most of his life in North Vietnam, had cleverly played on words with the name. Now knowing the double meaning of “trinh nu”, I decide to retain my original translation.
In 2003, Mr. Peter Askim, a composer and assistant professor of music at the University of Hawaii, put Huy Can’s “Regret” to music and since the poem has been interpreted many times at Cornell University, in Pennsylvania, and in Hawaii by Miss Judith Kellock, an Emma-awards soprano singer nominee and assistant professor of music in New York City.-- VU DINH DINH --
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).
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