The water-lily stalks stretch along the stream;

The poles are also long to punt the boat.

The yellow cork flowers rock with the waves;

You are anxious on your way home to float.


Your return there during the flood, who knows?

How could I then find that river shore?

The tide rises up to overspread distress,

Making humans wade across it bearing bore.


Your house faces the swallows’ cave,

Waiting in the evening for people out of sight.

A tardy egret, looking for a perching space,

Discovers only water, clouds, and twilight.


Birds have to quit the plains for the forest;

Ants gather in swarms to build nests at height.

You shall reposition your old bamboo bed,

Lying on it to hear the waves rustle all night.


My upstream boat leaves the deserted bank;

The northeasterly wind hurries a piercing cold.

There is tonight this guy out here in the frost,

Yearning for a safe place back in a household.  



       Vietnamese poem by PHẠM HỒNG ĐẬM

       English translation by THANH-THANH