A FALLING STAR
thanks to my benefactor on “Thanksgiving Day”
have really left me, have you not, Gene?
What heaven broke away, what star fell apart!
Your bountiful benevolence and my great gratitude
Through seventeen years have piled up in my heart.
came here seventeen years ago, empty-handed
But with a crowd of young children in my care,
A mental wound, two tearful eyes, homeland lost,
Family broken up, and of how to live unaware.
opened your arms to receive me
Even though I was not of your same race.
The humane heart does not have any borders;
Just only an act of charity is the main base.
I fell down, you helped me up very tenderly;
Your heart of gold’s radiance was so brightly clear.
I felt when a child in my dear mother’s embrace
That lead me step by step into the worldly sphere.
And thus seventeen years had passed fast,
The longer the duration the deeper the emotion.
For your good deeds I had not rendered thanks
But already met death separation beyond notion.
You have already parted, already quitted life
Leaving your loved ones and leaving me here.
For eternity your flesh and bones will go to dust
But your generosity will still shine inside your dear.
You have really gone away, departed from me:
The bottom of your grave, or is it that of my mind?
Esteemed friend, I wish you a forever happiness
Living in God’s divine blessing peace to find!
On this occasion of Thanksgiving, oh Gene,
I send to infinity my tears mixed with each rhyme.
The bowl of rice at the time of need is so precious;
I have engraved in my heart feelings of my lifetime.
Vietnamese poem by NGÔ MINH HẰNG
English translation by THANH-THANH