Poems by Vu Trong Thai from Vietnam

Επιμέλεια: Εύα Πετροπούλου Λιανού

His biography: Poet Vu Trong Thai was born in 1955, in Haiphong city, Vietnam. Member of Hai Phong Literature and Art Association. He has published 9 books of poems, live stories. He won 4 literary Prizes in Vietnam.

His poems:

Afternoon of Lang land

Afternoon slowly fell down the mountain town

Clouds spread across the top of Chop Chai

Ky Lua Market had no longer people around

The sound of “Hey Nhi…”, held someone’s footsteps*

Golden sunset on the water surface

Ky Cung River quietly flowed

I returned to Lang in the afternoon

Somewhere had the scent of incense

To Thi despite thousands of years of petrification

Still held the baby, watched the sky from far away

Uc Trai followed father to the North

Which tears for the debt and enemies of the country?**

Afternoon at the end of year, I sat back and remembered

Stories of the past and today

One more time back to Lang

Sent love to this land.

*”Hey Nhi sloong hao…”: The lyrics of the Sli song of the Nung Phan Sinh people in Lang Son. In each Ky Lua market before, Nung boys and girls often went to the market and sang love song on every street corner, created a unique culture in Lang Son.

**Nguyen Trai followed his father, Nguyen Phi Khanh, was captured by the Ming invaders, and went up to the North pass (Muc Nam Quan). Listened to what his father say, he wiped away his tears and returned to think about how to repay the debt and enemies of the country.

Baby Na acted as a doctor

(For dearest Na)

Baby Na played the role of a doctor

How powerful she looked

Sit seriously on the chair

She wore on the stethoscope.

Patients were all lined up

In order, not jostled each other

One by one

Now, the medical examination began.

What is wrong with you, Bear

I have a sore throat

Ah, yes, you have caught a cold

Drink honey, it will cure immediately.

And what about you, lovely stuffed puppy

Why do you look so sad

I left my mother since I was little

So I am crave for Vinamilk.

Doctor Na prescribed

Two boxes of Vinamilk

Every day when going to class

You must be sure to drink evenly.

Sweet Doraemon

Why do you have to see the doctor?

I’m having a headache

It feels so dizzy.

So from now on

If you don’t want to be scolded by mother

When you go out in the sun

Remember to wear a hat.

The examination was long over

Everyone stayed

All were having fun

Played with doctor Na.

April, 2nd 2021

The sound of bronze trumpet

(Dear Bronze Trumpet Band Oefening en Uitspanning)

There was an evening in Spring

 The sound of bronze trumpet echoed in Port Street*

Those shimmered melodies

Colorful fields at Uat Kim Huong.

Strange mysterious sounds

Of the band in the river Maas

“Fly, fly, fly… like the endless Spring”**

Beside the Forbidden River at high tide.

When the conductor spent a second of silence

Command wand turned into magic wand

I suddenly saw a stormy sky

A gentle song, a soft song.

Those artists that I couldn’t know their names yet

Different languages, many unknowns

The bronze trumpet sound was a close bridge

We became brothers as if we had been a long time.

Hai Phong – Wijk en Aalburg was so far away

Today was no longer distance

Pink phoenix wings with tulips***

Blossomed in this morning.

11:55PM, night October 12nd, 2021

*Bronze Trumpet Band Oefening en Uitspanning (Netherlands) performed at the Opera House, on the occasion of the 1st anniversary of the establishment of the Vietnam – Netherlands Friendship and Cooperation Association, Hai Phong city.

** Adapted from the poem “Vietnamese posture” by Le Anh Xuan.

***Symbol of Vietnam – Netherlands Friendship & Cooperation Association, Hai Phong city.

Cu Bi entered first grade

(Dearest Cu Bi)

Cu Bi entered first grade

The whole family also learned

Mother brought a backpack to wear

Father brought new books.

Grandfather volunteered to wait

Picked up the baby after school

Grandmother took a good care

Cooked a delicious meal for him.

So was auntie Trang

Gifted brand new clothes

And a pretty hat

To kept him away from the sun and rain.

The puppy was also nervous

Ran around as encouragement

First day went to class

When he entered first grade.

04:55PM, July 28th, 2018

Emotions from a photo

(Dear Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Xuan Duong – VMU Principal; Chairman of VNFCA Hai Phong)

Red gloves

Red flag on chest

I also saw another red

From your heart in a “Pink Sunday”.

Just quietly hid in the crowd

You gave away red blood

How many times, I couldn’t remember

Silently hoped for revival.

I had seen your enthusiasm

Interesting moment in class time

Career story with so many dreams

Released your soul to a life of blue sea.

I also knew it always dry and sunny in the summer

Sweat was still roll down on your cheeks

The practice floor was wobbly

The traditional martial arts, you were so passionate…

Yes, the page of life was not the page of poetry

Like a ship in the middle of the ocean

Quietly in the vast ocean

In the distance, there was a glimpse of the shore.

October 14th, 2021

*VMU: Vietnam Maritime University

*VNFCA: Vietnam – Netherlands Friendship and Cooperation Association, Hai Phong city

(Translated from Vietnamese into English by JyKhanh)