Poems Bui Xuan from Vietnam

Σας παρουσιάζουμε τα ποιήματα του Βιετναμέζου ποιητή Βui Xuan

Επιμέλεια παρουσίασης: Εύα Πετρόπουλου Λιανού ποιήτρια-συγγραφέας

His brief biography: Bui Xuan is a poet and a literary translator. Born in 1959 in Quang Nam province. Bachalor of Science of history. Member of Vietnam Writers’ Association. Member of Literary translation Council of Vietnam Writers’ Association. Published 2 volumes of poems and 4 books of translation works. Won 4 literary prizes.

His poems:

Hidden fire


not yet arranged neatly on the tea tray

suggest me ideas beyond the

piece of clay

the potter moulds and bakes in the fire

Intuition tells me

the fire hidden in the cup

is making streams.


leaving the space behind

I’m lost in the void in front of me

the last rain of the season has ended

the last drop of sunshine is gone

it’s as if the earth is no longer under my feet

it’s like my body is being diluted

merge with the void that has dense darkness

suddenly you appeared

shimmering flowers of the shirt button in the past.

That place

I’m afraid that the place I return to, a lotus flower will bloom to welcome my feet

in that place my heart is like a lake without ripples

wisdom is like the full moon passing through green gardens

and the rocky hillsides

that place the heart doesn’t hurt the chains

my chest doesn’t explode in your whisper

that place

how can i still call passionately


Sleeping among the trees

the day is over

I’m lying in the middle of the grass

sad crickets crowing

leading the symphony at late night

arrive early

like autum

hastily lead the golden thread of sunshine into the garden of rotting leaves

I transform into the grass into the tree

the sleep that does not wait for the stars to rise.


thinking again about Vishnu and Shiva

create, preserve, destroy

thinking again about Yoni and Linga

fertility, proliferate, flourish

thinking again about your black eyes

pure, radiant, inviting

thinking again of the seeds of the earth

rising that warm sunlight.

Morning prelude

Your body is shining

purity flows from the deep night pit

the source of the black eyes flowing through the chest

heaving and silent navel formed


the sky does not promise the firery sun

storm is sleeping

The wind blows softly through the hair

timid, tolerant clouds fly towards the horizon

where the kiln opens the door of ash

I bend over the terracotta vase

praising clay, water and fire

praise your radiant body

purity flows from the deep night pit.

Light up

After the evil Xangsane storm

I learn from the tree the lighting

as if there’s never been a gust of wind above level twelve

as if there was never an uprooted ancient tree

as if there were no ruined houses

and my mother and my sister and brother

sat and cried.

To live is to light

I acknowledge and affirm

I argue and defend.

Hey you

if one day in front of you is a void or a breakdown

please light up a young leaf for yourself

beautiful on the tree branch after the storm

and if hope does not return

your heart is empty

please light up whether it’s loneliness or despair

never become the insensitive dying light.

Young mud

When the flood season passed, it left a layer of young mud on the ground. The neighbor did not hide his joy: “This year’s young mud is thicker than every year”. Mother laughed: “It’s a big flood”. He listened to mother’s voice and fills his lungs with the smell of new dirt.

Young mud. Howling wind, pouring rain. The vast plains of water. Imitation of village drums. The water on the floor swept away many things. The water remained in the mud. Mother lifted up her palm with fresh drops of mud. Mother’s smile reminded him of the taste of the earth, the scent of the season. Mother’s gaze reminded him of a way of thinking, of seeing, of living.

Time drifted to infinity. Sometimes he asked himself: What is my soul? And he answered himself: My soul is a young mud soul.

He saved every drop of mud after the flood season to make up for his poor rice fields. He distilled joy, sadness, experience, found in it a little essence and he thought of one thing, every flash of rain would pass, what was left, what remained was young mud and everything could possibly become a fertile alluvial layer…

The other side

One late afternoon I called a ferry to cross the river. After a while, from the other side there was a « hey » and a boat appeared from behind the reeds. The old ferryman had a white beard. The old man’s oars were slow. The boat drifted languorously across the river. When the boat docked, I got on the boat and said, “Are you tired because of the old age? You didn’t know that I was eager, hoping to get to the other side?” The old ferryman looked at me: “It’s been a long time so it has become a habit, and to me, the two banks are only one, so I forget to think that you are anxious to go to the other side”. I saw in the old boatman’s words some meaning, but because my mind was only looking at the river quickly, I did not ask again. The boat docked, I disembarked, nodded to the old man and hurried away. As I stepped off the riverbank, the old boatman called out: “Hey, when you get back to the other side, remember to remind me to row the boat quickly.”

Sun shadow

At noon in the summer, I stayed in a hammock under a bamboo grove. The bamboo leaves rang and the tall bamboo trees swayed in the wind. The sun shone down from above, through the bamboo then became sunbeams on the ground. The hammock I laid in and even my body was dappled with sunlight. I smiled and thought: “The sun is wearing a brocade shirt for me”. Then I closed my eyes and fell asleep. Under the shade of bamboo, the sun is dotted. The hammock swayed with a creaking sound.

Baby, life doesn’t have many moments like that, but those moments will follow us forever. And you will never be the sad sun. And I will never be the pool of suffering. Because in us there have been wonderful moments, worth living. Under the shade of bamboo, the sun is dotted. The hammock swayed with a creaking sound.

(Translated into English by Vu Hoang Linh Chi)