from the Venerable ThÝch Quảng Độ





Hey! Pain!

Do not menace me again!

I have known you too well! Enough!

I have met you on all my life's roads rough;

and each time I meet you anywhere,

I always smile a smile so fair

and look you straight in the face without dread.

Although you really are more awesome than Death,

with me, you are nothing at all.

Do not fancy it, that I fear you, to befall

so that I should damp my righteous zest

to lower my head before you, inhuman pest!

Do continue to persecute me to carry out your plan:

I have pledged not to regret my illusionary life span.


Oh, Distress!

Do you hear among the world's moving stream

the swift waves of impermanence's scream?

Do not pride yourself being unduly victorious

on the corpses of humans unfortunate but meritorious!

For, grossly stupid and coarse,

you know nothing besides your force,

and then you laugh at devastation and ruin.

The music you listen to is lament, bewail, chagrin!

the tea you taste teardrops of the wretch,

the wine you sip fresh blood of your victims' fetch,

each curtain you hang like many a mourning headband

of writhing people you trample down and brand!

Poverty and starvation follow each of your steps,

chains and shackles where you come it schleps;

sunshine becomes obscurity

to cover with darkness all paths to futurity;

the naive fetuses, unborn babies, cherubs,

get aborted by you using overpopulation as cover-ups.


Oh, Agony!

Do you hear the complaints against your savagery

that are resounding from cities to the countryside,

from islands to mountainous areas nationwide,

and from graves by souls of victims of gross injustice?

Are you aware? that on the earth's surface

there will be nowhere

in the deep sea as well as in the thin air

for you to find a long-term shelter thither to scoot

to escape, when is duly ripe every fruit!

And that day will definitely come as in a daze

when humanity awakes from this current maze.



   Vu Doai Village, on the Buddha's Birthday in 1982


                     Translation by THANH-THANH