A World Away


You have left taking with you the eternal dole

And I remain here with the kiln of charcoal.

Sadness has gone with the wind to vanish forever;

Fire extinguished, time also grown cold however.


Alone in that domain you look back in frustration,

Feel for yourself your soul weeping separation?

Oh clouds, white clouds that drift to mounts ashen,

There still is in myself such a bit of compassion.


A thousand years and one more thousand a year

Rocks crumple, gold dissolves in this earthly sphere

But as long as there still is breath in this existence,

One is continuing to expect another at no distance.


Life here is rain and wind in a profound state;

That wind calls you back here where I am to wait.

Bach around is the native village bamboo desolate,

The childhood’s river water up and down at its fate.


Suddenly waking at midnight from a certain dream:

Half of my life I have broken my promise – I deem.

Always regretting that I failed by my word to abide,

So life is like the stagnant spring not to stir its tide.


I imagine someday I unfurl the sails to the sea wide,

Someone at the horizon calls my soul to her side.

Is that you stand there a thousand years through

Embracing in the moon the husband-waiting statue?


Where to go? Shall I go to what direction, gateway?

Shall I stand together with you until hair turns grey?

As long as vicissitudes still exist in this worldly life,

Tragic echoes of our old country’s soul will grow rife.


Weep? I will always cry out of my deep emotion,

The stream of tears will effuse in the distant ocean.

Life is still elapsing thousand miles far-off in brine;

Frustrated, to forget things one has recourse to wine.


I have tried to forget, but how could I forget?

Even stone war-horses did cross rivers to pay the debt.

So to regret such youth, watercourses have gone dry;

How much blood and bones did the influx come by!


Oh well! I have used to admire illusory, alluring lies:

Nothing too repent – of wild dreams under the guise.

Looking back to myself suddenly wakes up my mind:

My human condition in life has ruefully fallen behind.


Translation by THANH-THANH