The old shelf

After ten years I came back to rearrange.

From the books and notebooks range

Fell out the veins of violet-dyed fig tree leaves:

The sight of which more and more aggrieves

Reminding me of my dear green years

With now so long-ago those cheers...


The dusty autograph books each showing

Each page with friendship overflowing

As I turned over, I reviewed each classmate:

Who were still alive, who had already found fate,

Who succeeded in fleeing as yearned,

And who however returned...


In my mind revived the white dresses of fays

And their laughter like on back-to-school days,

The small kiosk with the glasses of juice,

The rear laps sneakily knotted love to introduce...


Oh memories of youth! Thence

Nostalgia immense

In my self!

Oh my old shelf!

Ten more years, ah!

And after ten more years - who could debar?

When has grown white my hair

To-pine-for and to-miss shall I for ever bear...


Translation by THANH-THANH