THE WRITERS POST

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

VOLUME 8 NUMBER 1

JAN 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HUY CAN

__________________________________

 

REGRET

 

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

of willow

As tall trees cast their long, languishing shadows.

Time and time again, have broken hearts mellowed

your soul?

 

Please place your head on my arm

So I can hear the heavy drops of sorrow

 

HUY CAN

 

 

Original version:

Ngm ngi

 

nng chia na bi; chiu ri
vườn hoang trinh n xếp đi l ru
si bun con nhn giăng mau
em
ơi hy ng...anh hu qut đy
lng anh m ci qut ny
trăm con chim mng v bay đu giường
ng đi em mng bnh thường
ru em sn tiếng thy dương my b
cy di bng xế ngn ngơ...
hn em đ chn my ma thương đau ?
tay anh em hy ta đu
cho anh nghe nng tri su rng rơi

1938
Huy Cn
(La Thing)

 

Translators note: I wish to thank Miss Ngo Mai Kha, Xuan Dieus 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 Cans 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
the magazine of literature

& literature-in-translation,

founded 1999, based in the US.

 

VOLUME 8 ISSUE 1 JAN 2006

 

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

Copyright Vu Dinh Dinh 2006. 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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