Poems by Bach Ngoc from Vietnam

Επιμέλεια: Εύα Πετροπούλου Λιανού

Her biography: Her full name: Doan Thi Bach
Born in 1961; Hometown: Le Thanh, My Duc, Hanoi, Vietnam
She loves the literature by fragile and delicate soul. She wrote poetry since 1980.
5 private poetry collections were published by Publishing House of Vietnamese Writers’ Association, with these titles:
– Afternoon lullaby (2011)
– Jade eyes in lotus (2012)
– Stumbling on my feet (2013)
– Finding myself (2015)
– The lotus realm (2020)
Many literature works were published in newspapers and magazines

Her poems:

The flutist
(Dedicated to poet Nguyen Quang Thieu, the author of the exhibition “The flutist”)

The accumulated melodies are as if wanting to break a heart
flying out into a flute sound

The flute sound
awakening a snake of many lifetimes that are sleeping peacefully in the brain
to pass through an eye
All eyes are opened at once
Bright stars in the fore-head sky

The snake lifts its neck, its mouth emits the melodies
The eyes also sing their songs
Birds, butterflies, ceramic vases, flowers, tree trunks…
turning into the flutes
singing along with your own sounds…

The flutist is the main flutist
in the midst of the strange choir…

The flutes suddenly forget themselves as flutes
only sounds left
spreading across the earth, the sky…
Magical sounds also forget themself as sounds
Only colors left
clearly, virtually
The colors also forget themselves as colors…

Only light remains
The light…
From paintings emit to every soul.

The Day river

Dreams called to that place
Listening to the quiet flow at the dew afternoon in the alluvial mountains
A little bit fragrance of cornflower pollen of Ung Hoa fieldland
Suddenly feeling thirsty for the old eroded embankment and banyan root
Ten toes clinged tightly to the ground that were so painful
The hidden drops of sweat, floating water into the jar.

Can’t take the river to the street
I brought the jar to my new home
Looking it every day like a lovesick person
Opening the sacred object under the sobbing moon
Streaming the memory
A bewildered childhood in front of the sail
A springtime with a salty smile
A incubated private feeling to wait for buds.

The earth has passed the apocalypse day*
Why worry about the river minimized, one day it will disappear?
Missing badly the sound of laughter at Da bank
Mother told to prepare sticky rice for the sticky rice cakes
With my lover to wash phrynium placentarium leaves…

Tonight, launching ships under the moon of the early month
Braiding a rope by my soul
Along the countryside river, patiently pulling out
The moon boats away – calling the sails…

* the apocalypse day: Based on predictions from the ancient Mayan calendar – the earth would be destroyed on December 21, 2012

The gift for my mother

Dear mother!
I hear a cry in the wind
Of the people
Not as lucky as I am – to have mother in the world.

They are thirsty
Building beautiful homes for their mothers to live in
Cooking delicious bowls of porridge for mothers
If mothers tired, can carry mothers to travel
If mothers’ sleeps were not good, reading softly Kieu story…

How about me
Unnaturally flying to the South to pound a piece of betel nut to serve mother
But let do mother worry when driving while thinking somewhere
Still to be sick to hurt mother’s heart
Still not take care of myself yet – a drop of mother’s blood and bones…

Dear mother!
It’s 0:00 on October 20, 2012
I hear in the wind
Mother hair turn around many times because of me
I can’t do anything to make mother happier
Yes, I obey Mother’s words – I will love myself
Dear mother!

With Malange*

I come from the other side of the earth
Falling in love with dreamy sunshine and light cold of the highland
Every evening, the crow wings swayed
Every morning, the roosters resounded on the roof, feeling close to my Fatherland…

At the top of Kalandula waterfall, I hided in the clouds, I rushed into the water
I turned Benita among black children
In the maternity room, I combined the pain of all unfamiliar mothers
The pain was filled with green energy, making the Chemobyls** ashamed…
I picked kisses from friends

In the midst of fresh flowers covered the gun grave*** that was cold and silent
Warming up my soul that was curly hairs
Passionating me that was the pretty lips – of the babies on mothers’ backs – reaching for the sweet milks
Passionating with Malange – Vietnamese affection
A bitter tea shared the sweetness…

On the nights when you were on duty, I talked to the moon and stars
The restless fire, your steps were waited in the morning sunshine
If you were not in Malange, when would I come
Therefore, I would be very poor…
Now, Malange in me, was synonymous with love
Although still worried about thefts…
If I did not get sick in Malange so that you had to transmit water all night
I may not know that I was rich!

Note: * Malange, a province of the Republic of Angola
** Chemobyl, a nuclear power plant in Ukraine, former Soviet Union, exploded on April 26, 1986, causing a great disaster for people.
***Malange City Park has a gun burial site, implying a permanent peace.

Dear mother!
Mother! I can cry already
This afternoon…
They are slender, purple, white, pink… under the small pond

The sky at bottom of that pond is so blue but I cannot see mother
Hoi An’s sunshine is like silk… I want to sew clothes for You!

Tearful nymphaeaceaes
Crying nymphaeaceaes…

I’m speechless too…

Mother loves nymphaeaceaes
And I know that you’ve never watched at the flowers
Because there were ten flowers that needed mother’s care for decades…
To become beautiful flowers

Nymphaeaceaes… this afternoon I’m watching for mother’s part
Tearful nymphaeaceaes…
I cry… in words!

Taking a bath for my mother

Spraying some scented bathing gels on the towel
I washed gently
Mother frowned…
I washed by hands
“Is it soft, mom?”
Mother laughed softly…

Oh, mother’s thin shoulder for a hundred years…
Women’s part
Husband, children and grandchildren
You carried smiles to make me happy

Mother! I took a bath for You
Or was I taking a bath
For my soul?

Visiting Con Dao

The sky, sunshine, cloud, mountain, sea…
they are too transparent!
the land, plants… all the breaths…
each step, many transparent people
giving way
slightly feet, do they hurt blood and bones?

The third night on the island
a pair of big eyes… a thin face
short hair, a brown shirt…
waking me up…

Oh! Con Dao…
souls…souls… flowing lights
blood and bones… blood and bones… breathing from other world
the sacred land knocking on the dreams

Con Dao!
every night the moon shines at Hang Duong
whispering the sea, the wind of Cau Tau does not sleep
“how many stones were stacked, the same number of human heads were fallen”
shining moon, singing wind… laughed waves to white…

Con Dao wakes up at midnight to pick fish
I stay awake to wait for dawn
                     running out of the house without closing the door
roaming sparrows on corpses of the prison…

Running like a child… I suddenly see…
under a green terminalia catappa canopy… a pair of dreamy eyes…
at any direction, the same that eyes
it is clear and blue like the sea, like the sky…

After leaving Con Dao, these eyes are inside me…

The country of An Phuong baby

3.37 am on April Fool’s day – Telling – Truth*
An Phuong baby was born
Doctor’s eyes smiled
Lotus in the field was in early season

The masks became precious
Smoke burned real money in Wuhan
Mixed in the methane clouds – it was dense in the sky

All skin colors, all color flags
Together fought against the colorless enemy
Painful numbers increased every day…
Very true
The Earth needs breathing air
The Earth needs oxygen

The country of An Phuong baby
Every day received tens of thousands of people from abroad
The thin Country Mother warmed and protected

Leaving the wealth
Leaving the money
Together isolating in the warmth
Everyone slept peacefully
Only doctors and soldiers got little sleep
The sacred Homeland had never been so peaceful!

Lotus in the field was in early season
An Phuong Baby was born with a crying voice
The Fairy in White smiled
Putting on a newborn shirt by yellow star and red flag

April Fool’s day – Telling – Truth*: April 1 every year, which is Fool’s Day (lie day). Due to the serious Covid-19, on April 1, 2020, people did not tell a lie.

The smiling man

This afternoon has merged into the white clouds
The white clouds to the West mountain* or back to the village?

The last field that he plowed, was more than forty years ago
The late calves that he instructed to plow, was a half a century ago
The ditches turned into the land by his hands, were the asphalt roads that he built by … his own way

He used to work in dreams
Eating in half consciousness
His laughter followed in dreams

Laughing out loud on his paralyzed legs
Laughing full of the house when his falling hands with a spoon
Laughing with your wife and children, laughing with guests
Laughing the most with himself

Be quiet… This afternoon…
He is smiling, shaking the white clouds
The white clouds to the West mountain or back to the village?

West mountain*: is a Buddha realm according to Buddhism

In middle of the picture

The meadow wakes up
in deep dreams…

A new scent
a new green
a new song

Stories sleep deep in the soil
emerging the grass color
the sleeping lyrics
flying up with the wings of honeybees
getting up… getting up… from the earth, the warmth of a mother’s heart

I walk into the meadow
with a passport of my soul of the land and the country
in tune with the field of friend country that is few oceans away

I don’t know
I have just been greeted by the light
and the gift I offer the meadow
also the light I brought from the village field

I don’t know either
in middle of the meadow splendor
I am, the flower of mother’s field
putting myself in middle of the picture…

(Translated into English by Khanh Phuong)