Poems by Vo Thi Nhu Mai from Vietnam

Επιμέλεια: Εύα Πετροπούλου Λιανού

About the author: Vo Thi Nhu Mai was born in Dalat, Lam Dong in 1976. She worked as a high school English teacher in Ba Ria Vung Tau for 5 years. She then moved to Australia to complete Graduate Diploma in Primary Teaching, then Master Degree in literacy. She has been working as a primary school teacher from 2004 till present in Western Australia. Vo Thi Nhu Mai writes for fun, her publication in Vietnamese including Tan man (Scattered, 2009); Ben kia tit tap dai duong (On the Other Side of the Far Away Ocean, poetry, 2011); Vuon co tich (The Fairy Garden, poetry, 2015); (For The Day to be Shorter, 2022); Tu tuyet Covid – 19 of Vo Que (The Quatrains of Covid – 19, English version by Vo Thi Nhu Mai, 2020); The gioi cua nhung giac mo of Nguyen Thanh Kim (The world of dreams, English version by Vo Thi Nhu Mai, 2021); A collection of English poems from some Vietnamese authors with her English version will be published this year, 2023 and a collection of her poems will be published at the same time.


Please don’t sell any
Flowers all for me
Love you I’m passionate
Fragrance all over the place

When I am away
Miss the white jamine
By our quiet porch
You water each branch

You are as fragile
as flowers, all mine
Don’t think of any
Give them all to me

My whole life I care
for you and flowers
Measured by the sun
Warm for you, little bun

Don’t you think too much
Women’s day approaching
Flowers and you, stunning
We will be in the same house

Please don’t tease me by
Selling all flowers
Let me talk to mum
Flowers and you, family!


Oh afternoon
Why does the sun so golden
Oh tomorrow
Why do clouds float such way
And my oh my
Those are the bridge
Why not be brave to cross it?

The happiest stories I told you
The most tender roses hiding in my heart

Oh those night dreams
Those night dreams
It would take a few seconds
We hold hands wandering the empty streets

Doesn’t matter those who complain
Doesn’t matter those who are gloomy
I’m too busy writing a verse
For us to sing out loud

You are the music notes
Bouncing in the field
Eyeing faraway
I admire you everyday

We are deep in love
With such great passion
It’s like our life
It’s like a dream

I have to go back
Facing lone afternoons
To miss you so much
To listen, my crying heart
To grow grey hair each day
For you to be my very last
In my heart the rest of this solemn life


When you are sick
I put a magid wand
Under your pillow
The wand lies still feeling guilty
This is not a fairyland

When you are sick
The sun also hides
White snow embroidered into a quilt
I put it on, open the door and go
Bringing the cold away

When you are sick
I whisper and pray
Wish you get well soon
I write your name on a picture
It’s bright with colours

Then the birds will sing
The snow blanket will melt soon after
I look deep into your eyes
Seeing a dancing couple in their perfect waltz

The weekend
I weave the poem
In the shape of a lolly
Sweetly wish you well


The roads are sad
on a moonlit night
The poem of 1985 with a kiss of ripe grapes
The season is fresh, the towers are high
Clouds in the blue sky
Though my heart filled with storms and waves

We have not yet met, but feel like a depart so near
We have not touched the horizon, the pain is yet to feel
We have not started the song, eyes filled with tears
Nguyen Sa poem inprinted in memory

Tomorrow I will go on pilgrimage
Wearing a woven headband
Catus thorns bleeds my heart
I hear my voice echoed from the tower

The village asks where I come from


There is a winter carriage
My dear
dropping me in the fairytale garden

And the wind
The wind blows my floating hair
A tiny seed sprouting in surprise of the cold

And the Goddess of Love
Reaching her slender arms arranging stars
A gorgeous afternoon someone left behind

The magic wand you have not yet given a name
Diligently touching the dark doorways
Barren souls squealing with joy

The winter carriage left me behind
In your fairytale garden sparkled with stars
Please don’t ask why I turn into a seed


A Saturday morning
The dust-covered clock beats endlessly
Drops of sounds falling from an old faucet

Saigon – squishy squishy, garbage collection
Dalat – The bells of Linh Son breaking the dark
Imagine Hanoi with the cold

I will save a part of soft winter
Carefully wrap in a parcel
Summer of May will be more tolerant

The mysterious space would be thinner
Words are hard to say
Self-immolation in the light of day

Thoughts of sublimation, dreamy Saturday
Reminding me of the stack of books, silent against the wall
The longing for you weaving into the pillow topped with a towel

A new day brings new faith
Open the window of our soul to dry all the pain
Eyes of lake reeds leaning against each other, with tears


The love verses he had written it all down
The lady in his poems
Gentle as moonlight
Charming at the end of spring

Where does she step out from
A fragrant fruit or a custard apple
Quietly enters the house
Holding his hands

The vast sky birds flying in flocks
Waterfall roaring, a green gecko clinging into the rock
He is busy weaving a b c into a pair of shiny shoes
She slips her feet in, feeling as light as a feather

Night turns into Day
Day into Night
The cycle of time does not count by waiting
The lady wearing those shiny shoes
to carry his love away

They never stop singing a song
and spend most of the time weaving rainbows from grass
The night sighs elegantly
The day filled with colours

My dear please don’t be jealous with the lady in his poem
Though how much you are in love
Because she is you
Wearing the shoes he weaves
shiny blue clouds


Dear my love, it’s pouring, the afternoon does not promise to be back
The bird stops singing, cotton flowers red in the sky
Close windows leaving clouds outside
Breezes blowing sadness through trees
The gentle passion in those days

Dear my love
The street is so gloomy, many nights of prayer
We are holding hands, feeling each other
The next morning
The market near and far, we go together
Shops and inns
Vibrant noises of people
We merge ourselves in
Those pitiful beggars
Suffering from bitterness and worry

Every night counting the stars
A mercy for this life
In lamentation being humans
Night after night
We put our hands together and pray
People with people, when in need
People with people, please help each other

Dear my love
It’s pouring to purify the sky
Teardrops for this life
Seeing you again
Sadness seems to be faded away
Because love is a dream
Scent of lotus once you sang
For the world and people close to each other
For the world and people close to each other


In my winter dream
Between foget and remember
Forget those sad days
Remember our kiss
Forget moment of getting married
Remember the lone river

Remember forget
The aroma of fresh rice field
Fairytale garden
We played hide and seek
The child-hood dream returning
Remember forget in tears

Fresh happiness
Love fairytale!

The field in bloom
Pink fairytale!


Thinking of such memory

Torn half moon at the lake bottom

That her words as soft as silk
As light as steps in the wind
Lilac trembling in the breeze
Dragonfly dances in sun-light

Fresh sunbeam
Fresh drizzle
Fresh rain cloud fresh pink lotus

Early morning
Gentle noon
Midnight moon falling on meadow

That loving brings love nearer
Enlightening of compassion
Drooping eyelids close in dreams
Peaceful afternoon it seems

Ocean eyes
Ocean soul
Ocean drifting all sorrows

Thinking of burdens in life

My heart sings my everything

Dawn tipping on sea and land!

Compassion on sea and land!
Om Mani Padme Hum!