THE OLD SHELF
ten years I came back to rearrange.
the books and notebooks range
out the veins of violet-dyed fig tree leaves:
sight of which more and more aggrieves
me of my dear green years
now so long-ago those cheers...
dusty autograph books each showing
page with friendship overflowing
I turned over, I reviewed each classmate:
were still alive, who had already found fate,
succeeded in fleeing as yearned,
who however returned...
my mind revived the white dresses of fays
their laughter like on back-to-school days,
small kiosk with the glasses of juice,
rear laps sneakily knotted love to introduce...
memories of youth! Thence
my old shelf!
more years, ah!
after ten more years - who
has grown white my hair
and to-miss shall I for ever bear...
Translation by THANH-THANH