Επιμέλεια: Εύα Πετρόπουλου Λιανου
His brief biography: He was born in 1950, in Vinh Phuc province. Former Chairman of Vinh Phuc Culture and Arts Association, term 7 (2009-2014). Published 13 books of poetry and prose. Won 9 literary awards. Member of Vietnam Writers’ Association; Member of Vietnam Ethnic Minority Culture and Arts Association; Member of Vietnam Journalists’ Association; Member of Vietnam Association of Architects; Members of the Association of Culture and Arts of Vinh Phuc province.
The Midland afternoon
It is green autumn afternoon in the Midland
The round-shape tea hills, the bowl-upside-down tea hills
Continuously green buds
Where is my older sister now?
At the age of eighteen, she went to a far away land for reclaiming
Calloused hands, smooth gravels
Her whole lifetime is to care roots
Gong sounds of the tea farm still echoing to the future?
The tea parcels are like the fingerprints of the Midland
The green youth, full of aspiration
The rainy December, the tan May
At night, bathing by the moon, sobbing by the forest sound.
The bullet-bomb time cutting the promise
The father went to the battlefield without knowing his child’s face
How many tea trees, the same plenty of people’s love and the land love
The loves that she preserved for caring the green sprouts.
A fragrant teacup sipping the taste of the homeland
Soaking in the moonlight, the love of the youth age
The street behind the hills, pink tiles and white clouds
Releasing to the sky, the Midland dream.
(Tam Dao, September 2021)
The deserted hills in the past years
It was barren and inert with stones and gravels
The days herding the buffalo, playing marbles, catching crickets
Melastomataceae flowers dying purple of hill memories.
The hills did not produced rice for generations
Did not create works in the leisure time
The village was starving all year round
Boys and girls gathering to the streets.
When the land is a potential advantage
The hill areas are bustling with industrial zones
The factories are busy days and nights
The vast roads are busy with cars passing by.
Returning to Khai Quang is like walking in a dream
Meeting everyone with open smiles
The village changing day by day, the streets jostling
The old homeland people returning to replace the homeland leaving.
Businessmen and businesswomen
Buying and selling transactions on the phones
Getting rich despite of the horizon or corners of the sea
Our homeland has opened happy ways!
(Vinh Yen 2021)
Ciconiiformes footprints putting on the top of the Red River Delta
Turning to the junction of Bach Hac River
The ancient land, the curling dragon, the kneeling elephant
Nghia Linh Mountain discovering its origin
The legend of King Hung who built Van Lang country
The offspring of Lac Hong, some people went to the forest, others went to the sea…
The river junction, clear and unclear flows
Its shape of ciconiiformes foot opening the Red River civilization
The king taught the people to plow from the ancient land of Minh Nong
Growing rice, growing moraceae, weaving silk
Planting bamboos against floods, planting palms for roofs
Planting tea trees for drinking
Neighbors lived with minds “tribulation and hardship sharing”
Opening boat racing and palanquin festivals
Rice cakes, fragrance in the countryside
The old saying: “drink the water, remember the source”…
By my village, by your village
Boats turning waves to connect the two loving shores
Upstream of the Lo Xanh, windy Thao River
Buying the betel in Dau market, selling arecas in Nu market
Singing Trong Quan, listening to the ancient chant and forgetting the way back.
The day I built Viet Tri industrial park
The dusty city, houses without numbers, streets without names
The market in middle of the streets calling the “grab” market into a familiar
The back-forth trains acrossing the bridge
Passing the workers village, romantic clouds.
Today returning to “Festival City”
Horizontal boulevards, high-rise street blocks
You are in a shift with the sound of machines
People’s faces are bright with the spring color.
You go with me on Hung Vuong Boulevard
From the Hung Temple echoing Uncle Ho’s words:
“The Hung Kings had merit in building the country
Our next generations must protect the country together!”
Young soldiers offering the incense to the fatherland
Listening tenderly to the waves on Truong Sa.
Dear Viet Tri, legendary echo
The river junction, white ciconiiformes flying back…
A clay pot
In old time, my mother went to the provincial market
Bought the clay pot to cook rice
The days boiled by the straw
The straw roof, the kitchen smoke wandering.
Every season the water rising
The mother caught the fish upstream
Anabas testudineus stewing with Alpinia officinarum by the clay pot
The fragrance spreading to the whole riverside neighborhood.
The clay pot was as gentle as the clay
Soot smudged all day
The mother’s life was hard from early mornings to late nights
Under the sunshine and rain, torn clothes.
Mom, the clay pot was slim
Broken, how can it be healed?
Who played the game of breaking the clay pot?
Risk games buying the laughter.
Dear mother returned to the heaven
The clay pot is no longer on the stove
Where is the smell of burning sticky rice?
I return, full of missing my dear mother.
A sheet of calendar
Peeling off the last sheet of the year-end calendar
The winter still has a few leaves
Goodbye old year
Emotionally meeting an apricot branch.
Carrying the four seasons on the shoulder
Hanging the calendar for months and days
Happy and sad scattering
No one knows how many flooding seasons in a year?
The new road, not forgetting the old way
How many flower seasons in a year?
With good seasons, birds return chirping
Bad seasons, the market is empty.
The rain and the wind are all over
The pandemic is over
Downstream boats, remembered wharfs
We turn back to the old days.
Peeling off the old Winter
Hanging new Spring
The time is like flowing water
The calendar burdening the sadness and joy.
Translated into English by Khanh Phuong