to THANH-THANH


                While my soul is sad as in a rainy eve,

            Writing this last poem I tremble to conceive…


It seems to be unknown why I also write

These wintry rhymes in this evening so trite.

My heart is too lonely, endlessly in blues;

The mourning setting sun shadows my shoes.


I have read and read from the Central Clime

The verses so chilling as in the chilly time.

Alas! How deep is his feelings’ command:

Silence in the soul, whoever would understand?


Although I want to write, say so much;

Oh! My emotion has turned uncouth to touch;

More than once life seems to be deserted:

Quiet in the mind myriad evenings introverted.


How my innermost flutters as I can sense

Each sentiment stung, feeling upset, so tense;

Storm slashing, remembrance racking, manifold

Have cumulated in my breast since lives of old…


But how to write? it is so ruthless, how to fit?

Golden dreams remain dreams, such a tiny bit!

And why to write? What a forlorn fate!

The two are to go their ways all life separate!


I wished, in my dreams, there is a certain time

We hold their hands, gently reading a rhyme…

Apricot flowers softly hang down on our hair;

Attachment shines in my eyes with a waiting air.


You are not just impassible like some strange guy

As inattentive as any kind of vague passer-by!

I have experienced queries many a night…

Well, I am fain… to dispel of fancy that flight.


Yes, Thanh my dear! Thus is my impression;

My affection is too little to answer the question.

You are so far, far-away, at a distance blear!

To link a love, down to the South you do not near!


I live here with my aged beloved mother;

Twice daily marketing, time passes as a souther;

Walking in the desert, hermitage to gloom;

Poems have been written, dreams not to bloom!


I do not remember how many letters to amaze

I have received and read since the old days,

The paper conveyed their heart-to-heart theme

But I have never known of anything to dream.


The figures past and past at all inconclusive;

My heart is still in a pristine season, elusive!

So many river wharfs I did not moor anywhere,

Neither await, nor tarry for, much less dare…


But today I have just received from you

Such a confidential poem, what a solitary cue!

I do feel my heart flutters and my tears flow;

Yet, my dear, how should I react now, hillo!


Only in dreams; yes, that is only in a dream

Because we are separated, against the stream;

Even hundreds of words could not unite

The two domains, bind the two souls alright!


Then, a certain morning, the sun begins to shine

Piling my heart with perturbation, full of brine,

I will be walking loungingly, vacantly, hurt,

Pronouncing vaguely your name in the desert…


Why you want me to burn the small pages,

The lonely letters sent me since… the ages?

No! I wish to keep them in my innermost

A remote outline, even not of a shadow a ghost.


I have written my feelings out with all my heart,

Oh! the Central Region that still stays apart!

This evening with eyes that tears overcame,

I am sending my last poem to my… old flame…


                                                        Saigon, in 1953 summer

                                          HUYỀN CHI

                                              (sent to Thanh-Thanh on June 10)


                      Translated by Thanh-Thanh and published in his

Ánh Trời Mai” new edition, republished by Xây Dựng in 1954