On my departure, I left behind this native land

With old streets my thin image’s imprint to bear

In the solitary evening the sun had just gone bland

And perfumes faded on the lone boulevards there.


The flamboyant bloom signaled time of separation;

The cicadas’ sounds seemed to sing good-bye.

Handing me the half-opened flower in intimation

The school-girl nestled closer to her teacher to cry.


On my departure, did the clouds and water schlep?

The Rach Ong girl’s laughter resonate whenever?

Would the Y-shaped Bridge shake under each step?

The Tan Quy scenery remained attached forever.


Which of my friends stood silent and lonely?

I suddenly felt cold through my spine and my life

With my heavy heart in the windy evening only,

The first rain in the last day made me wakerife.


On my departure, my soul was filled with dejection;

The coffeehouses young lovers would desert fain.

The red jasmine flower sweetly smelled affection;

I dreamed of meeting my loved ones soon again.


On my departure, I left this homeland behind

With the beloved and missed indigo-clad and slim.

Those old connections to me will always be a bind;

In the far-off place my memory none can ever dim.



                  Vietnamese poem by NHƯ HOA

                  English translation by THANH-THANH