When I was just a six-year-old boy

I began playing soccer to enjoy

With a ball of rags my Mother sewed around

A green pomelo picked from the rear ground.

I indulged in the matches forgetting to eat

Causing my Mother to chide, nearly to beat.


When I just reached the age of sixteen

I was already on the dating scene.

I neglected my lessons and to learn

Leading my Mother to sadness and concern

That my future would be inferior to my peers.


When I grew up to twenty years

My country was in danger, I joined the army.

This position was not deemed balmy

But dangerous and made my Mother fear

The loss of Her only begotten son so dear.


My unit was stationed all year far away

I had no home leave even half a day.

It pained my Mother again and again to regard

My trying conditions which were so hard:

Exposed to arrows and bullets, who knows?


After surviving many deadly blows

I obtained permission. But, used to roaming

I went with friends on carousing and foaming

And only came home late at night

Allowing myself little time within Her sight.

My Mother asked why. Fearing She was riled

I kissed Her on the forehead, and smiled.


The fortune of the country turned ill

From bad to worse against my strong will

I became a POW – My Mother had no help.

She loved me, missed me, but did not yelp.

I heard the sad news six months late

After She had pined away to fate.

I could not hold back and burst into tears

I felt my heart broken for all my life’s years.


During my days in the enemy’s jail

How I wished I could hear You rail!

How I craved for Your anger at me! And

How I longed for Your forever tender hand,

Your lullaby to help my best natured soul,

Leading me into life, guiding me toward a goal!

Those are now all gone! What grievous smother

Oh, my dear Mother!


Translation by THANH-THANH