I sent to you a letter on an April day

At a time I did not know early or late.

On that day it was snowy where you stay

And rainy and windy in your native place.


Homeland! It is yours of old place of birth,

Not mine, but why I missed it without end?

From high I looked down at the earth

And felt in my heart such a deep wrench!


I saw troubles everywhere brought about;

Boats furrowing the waves to save soul;

An interminable trip tried to carry out;

A century elapsing, not reaching the goal.


Goal? Where to arrive, how to understand?

Did you raise your eyes in contemplation

And mean to ask me if the shore to land

Were back to the point of embarkation?


How to answer your question on papers?

I looked and only met galaxies to bother

Beaming through hundreds of skyscrapers,

Calling for humans to come to one another.



    Vietnamese poem by VI KHUÊ

    English translation by THANH-THANH


  *April 30, 1975: The Fall of the US-backed Republic of Vietnam, which brought about the "Boat People."