Poems by Tran Dang Khoa from Vietnam

Επιμέλεια: Εύα Πετροπούλου Λιανού

Tran Dang Khoa
Born April 26, 1958 in Điền Trì village, Quốc Tuấn commune, Nam Sách District, Hải Dương. Currently the Vice-President of Vietnam Writers’ Association, the Editor-in-Chief of Nhà Văn & Cuộc Sống Magazine, and the Vice-President of the Hà Nội Alliance of Arts and Literature Associations.

(Translated by Ngo Binh Anh Khoa) BY THE JOZDAN RIVER To Nguyen Quang Thieu

Jesus stopped, baptized
On the banks of the Jozdan River
He looked up; it was bright
God suddenly saw Heaven.

Thinking there were only a few steps left
To reach the Celestial Realm
His face beamed with happiness
Warmth and peace…

I silently watched the river
That once reflected the visage of God
And is now like a muddy pond
Surrounded by barbed wire

Upon the Cross
Even the Lord was also executed
Much less the children of God
The fragile human lives…
Palestine 6/2023


Author’s Note: During our stay in Palestine, the poet Sami Tamimi accompanied us to safety for ten days. During that time, however, the occupying army raided his village, shot, and killed his grandson, three-year-old Tamimi Mohammed, who was playing in the yard. The Palestinian people held his funeral with a huge protest.

The Lord has resurrected, why can we not see the Lord?
The Lord has returned in all human lives.
The land of God’s birth has no place for God
In this beloved motherland, God was executed…

God is everywhere. And there is only one God
While Judah is everywhere on the planet.
The murderers of God still pray every day
For His blessings…

It seems that God has just returned in the form of All- Tamimi Mohammed
The pure angel who was shot in front of his house.
The baby’s face shone like the newborn God in His Crib
God is real. It is not hard to believe…

In the past, Jesus was crucified when he was thirty-three years old.
Now, the Lord was executed again at the age of three… 6/2023


In the city museum of Ramallah
There’s a wall
Small and lonesome
When I approach it
The wall suddenly cries out
Then screams and moans
The voices of men
The elderly
The young voices not yet clear
Like the wild winds howling ou-ah, ou-ah…

How many young people, old people
Have ever been killed
Their whole lives reduced to a moan

All over Palestine
Everywhere I go, I see
The walls
In the forms of broken trunks
In the homes that are falling apart
And in the sprawling heaps of bricks and stones
After the rains of bombs and missiles…

My feet suddenly grow cold
I don’t dare to take another step
Afraid that the stones afoot will moan again:
– Please tread with care!
Just yesterday
We were still Humans… Ramallah 6-2023


That is not the Sea. The humans full of sufferings
Yearning for Freedom, Happiness, Love
Had to escape from their human lives to become the Sea
Crossing the desert of anguish to a way to the Ocean…

But even the Sea can’t escape. The Sea has become the Dead Sea.
There is no peace even in death. They are imprisoned still.
One of the knotted strips in the sky is of blood and tears
So bitterly salty. So nothing can sink here

The Sea still glistens with a crying eye
As though it’s trying to say something to the human race
But where are the humans? Heaven is profound
In having the trees along the shore struggle inconsolably…

I’ve crossed halfway across the world
Coming to the Sea but not reaching the Sea
So we pass through the barbed wire to look at each other… Palestine 6-2023

*The inscription on the prohibitive sign hung along the barbed wire…


What does this place have?
How does the mountain become a TEMPTATION
A barren rocky area
Without a branch of a tree, the top of a grass

The sky is clear. The wind is cool
Why won’t the green grass grow?
I’ve just learned that this land is hostile
Not only because of Nature…

Await us everywhere
And the most dangerous mountain of TEMPTATION
Is erected in people’s hearts!

All humans across lifetimes come here
To witness an empty mountain slope
Suddenly like Jesus’ shadow
Slowly stepping into the white clouds… 6-2023


To the Palestinian Prime Minister

In two remote areas
Of the same Earth
We are all proudly
Standing upright in the Sun

Although our peoples still suffer
Having suffered for thousands of years
We cannot be hunted
Because we are HUMANS!

Those that shoot at you
Shoot me in the heart… Palestine 6-2023