PICTURESQUE FOR EVER
You inquired after
me, while in exile, into my sand:
Whether I have ever felt missing our motherland,
Pitied and regretted the abundance of the past
When the peaceful sun everywhere was shining fast?
Yes, be it picturesque for ever the countryside!
With kites flying over the far end of the dyke,
White storks walking alongside many a rice-field,
Some flute herding buffaloes home so sweet a yield.
Narrow roads, green bamboo hedges surrounding,
Rows of arecas swaying in the fresh wind mounting,
The ferry-sampan reflecting in the water its image,
Rice-pestling songs echoing in the moonlit village.
And admiring the immense universe, those times,
While tasting scented tea we composed our rhymes,
Pervaded with the flavor of our native place,
Both souls leavened under the starred space.
But, at present, one at stay, the other at large,
Our separation is on my heart a resentful charge.
You, unfortunate, have gotten caught in damnation,
And, I – though free – involved in human situation.
I am afraid of twilight, of shadows of night,
Of time arousing more and more grief in my plight.
Oh, homeland, relatives and friends! no assistance
Of any eagle could bridge so infinite a distance!
Vietnamese poem by HỒ MỘNG THIỆP
English translation by THANH-THANH