Poems by Hai Duong from Vietnam

Επιμέλεια: Εύα Πετροπούλου Λιανού

Translated to English by Vo Long

His biography: Born in 1955 in Vu Ban, Binh Luc, Ha Nam (Vietnam)
Former Member of the Editorial Department of Nhan Dan Newspaper
Currently living and writing in Hanoi
Member of Vietnam Writers Association
Published works: 6 volumes of poetry, 4 volumes of prose
Won a Prize in Poetry Competition of Military Magazine, (2003- 2004).


High and low
long and short
wide and narrow…

Sorrow and happiness
wealthy and poor
pride and shame…

The toss-up to contrast this to that
snatch from others to weigh to measure in order to add on or subtract
wobbling in shortcut, goat path
all can be seen is gain-loss, more-less

Let’s try putting height to height, length to length, width to width
supply each other, fulfill each other
a new comparison yet begins
a higher comparison, higher than all we ever thought

The unwritten verses

The day is washed till drained by rain and sun
a baby falls a deep sleep
a lifetime warfare
a night long century

That deep pond is for the vow to be net-casted
now dried up as forest burnt
the pond can never be that deep as eyes of a mother who lost her child
storms of life have not spared her

I have always wanted to write mom and you these poems but could not help the fear that my heart is dried empty.

Writers General Assembly X. 25-11-2020


Flower comes, flower blooms
there grow flowers of no beauty, no smell
remind that there exist a fake kind of flower

As season comes, fruit ripped
fruity ones, poisoned ones
the poisoned gives us woodland lesson

There are bird sound that wakes the dawn
there flies a lost bird sound
the chirping wild bird guides those who lost their way

Mouthy ones
bees flying around a smell-less garden
a road far-away
tasteless sunshine…


In what shape does the evil bear?
like a needle in a rag
like a splinter under nail bed

The evil is just as poison
inside water cup
inside snake’s tongue
human face

The evil is just as fen-fire
nocturnal sun, cold flame
the evil dies soulless, bodiless

Naive country girl
cries hearing a melodious singing voice
cries seeing a flower being stepped on
your homeward bound today
may no flower given
may no one sings…

A cyclo rider’s vote 
Late afternoon
lines of car
lines of man
stickily condensed
leave there be golden afternoon, dusty road
crawling storm of Eastern sea
inside that skyscraper
the votes change the predestined fate
on going debate
about Homo sapiens’ evolution
about post-modern era
about the clash of civilizations
miracle of the awaken *
sign of economic recovery
a wholesale market of fresh flowers, wilting man

Late afternoon
tan naked chest
has missed the dream of sky’s end
he dreams a cyclo carries full of laugh
to bring home enough cash
to cure his wife the following day
a dream that as we walk out the door
people friendly smile
share each other a place under the tree’s shadow along that sidewalk

A cyclo rider votes himself
wheel spin
* A work of Thich Nhat Hanh (monk)