You have flowed down here from the north;
Like you, I have drifted over here from the east.
We’ve been similar in our leeway thenceforth;
My life is melancholy, is yours too, at least?
Do you grieve? Why are you still running fast?
The farther you reach the wider/deeper you grow.
I am so sad, dizzy looking at you rushing past;
Missing my far native land I bow my head low.
Along your path everywhere alluvium giving,
Away from source a river knows to nourish Man,
While my blind alley is in search of a living,
Wanting to feed myself with joy hardly I can.
Back home, I have the modest Thu Stream
Which also knows to nurse people and self-love.
All my life to be like that dear river I dream
To flow among Love, round and round to rove.
Nevertheless, adieu to my country! So fervid
Up to this place, my return seems a blindfold.
The farther from its origin it gets more turbid:
Distraught with disgrace -- Oh! pure flow of old!
You and me, we both are away from source:
We should have exchanged feelings all night.
Without worry, you continue your swift course,
Leaving me all solitary in exile in this plight!
Vietnamese poem by HOÀNG LỘC
English translation by THANH-THANH