POETRY, THESE FOUR PARAGRAPHS?

 

 

One day, too heartsick, I got to the beach;

Under the willows, I gazed at the sea and the air.

There loomed a beautiful girl

Like an Western young lady with blond hair.

She flew over the surf

As a boat that floated with its sail so bare

Like so many boats while deserting their country

Continuing to float on the vast ocean in despair...

 

I was so sad that I heard myself weeping;       

The waves so pitied me they choked their sound.

I wanted to write a poem but unable;

I let my soul soar high by the wind bound.

Up at the height I met the clouds over there,

Looking down - Oh, how the sea was profound:

It was still there, why people had passed away!

Now there then nowhere, as Buddha did expound.

 

I felt melancholy (there was deep grief

Before that and after that), I did not know why.

Sheltering in the shade I sensed my soul cold;

My heart was frore like frost under the warm sky.

Was that girl actually a ghost that appeared

To lead me back to my old country on the sly

To visit the pieces of those boats that drifted

Over to the foot of the willows mossy there to lie?

 

One day... it has been ten years ago, then it was

Into eternity... one human being, once and for all

And not only one but thousands, millions:

How dismal my Fatherland, you heard my call?

Were branches gentle, why birds did not perch

While tigers might be friendly with men not gall?

What has it stood for, that regime?

Why I could not hold back, but let my tears fall!

 

One day... I took my pen.  And I wrote

The four paragraphs above, poetry was it withal?

 

 

             Vietnamese poem by TRẦN VẤN LỆ

             English translation by THANH-THANH