My children asked why I grew Asian vegetables and fruit-trees

But not apples or mulberries as one almost everywhere sees.

Why, Dad, did you do so?  


Hearing that, I smiled and pondered over that though

For a while then to the kids I tried to explain:  


Oh my dear! when you grow up you will gain

The knowledge and understanding of the expatriates’ mood

Now living here but over the past not ceasing to brood,

Weighed down with nostalgia, recalling the rural road pathway

On which they once went to school twice each day;

Banana leaves swaying as if twittering birds happy to greet;

During hard work the deliciously sweet coconut milk and meat

Eating and drinking one’s fill, how satiated with pleasure!

Small-seeded sugary longans in the garden, at leisure,

The calabash trellis shading the scorching summer sun at noon

Drowsing in the bamboo hammock, what boon!

The lulling refrain of traditional songs, the melodious croon...

My garden is indeed a half of our fatherland here nigh,

While the other half still is beyond the longing sky!  


Oh Dad! when would you lead us back to our old soil to visit

Our beloved country as beautiful as a poem exquisite,

Nam Quan Pass: where, since when have we been possessors?


There our ancestors victoriously defeated Chinese aggressors

So that they bitterly uttered this historical phrase:

Nam Quan Pass, one out of ten, it is to blaze

That crossing the frontier to trespass on Viet territorial side

Only one out of ten invaders could retreat alive!  


We will get there taking our ancestors’ oath to continue

To preserve our sacred bequeathed land as a new sinew,

And visit Ban Gioc Waterfall so dreamy and dear

So charming that one cannot find in the States here.  


We remember when you lulled our younger sibling to sleep

The long poem but only one section in mind we forever keep:

There, in Dong Dang, are Ky Lua Street, To Thi Statue,

Tam Thanh Temple – Then, who left for Pho Lang with you?

How much to regret her parents’ pain

Of birth and breeding, resigned to be fain...         


Hearing my children’s words, deep grief in my heart spears

I swiftly turned away to conceal the humiliated tears

Writhing my heart, overflowing like flood,

I feel I nearly vomit blood.

There is no longer that cherished border area of our land:

The red slaves have betrayed their country – What brand!

We will return to punish ye,

Heaven does not tolerate, earth does not forgive, ye can’t flee!

The whole Viet people will rise up thundering in a storm    

To make a clean sweep of communist rubbish in every form

Off our four-thousand-years-old precious native nation,

And reclaim the sacred soil that is our forefathers’ foundation.

We are not afraid of bloodshed, in order to gain

A beautiful Vietnam, inviolate and unified domain to remain

From Nam Quan Pass through Ca Mau Cape.

The Viet nationals will return to rebuild, reconstruct, reshape

Even from all corners of the world, earnest and clever

A gemmed Vietnam, strong and prosperous for ever,

Truly peaceful, free, and humane.

On that national festival in a boisterous brouhaha so plain


We will bring back and present to our relatives at home

The Viet longans from the seeds we took abroad as gnome

And sowed on the Free World’s ground, sprinkled thorough     

Although with water from Seine River or the Hillsborough,

They are still sweet, fragrant like sugar, honey –  What grace!

In spite of autumn wind and winter rain in our native place.

We still will hold each other’s hands, hand in hand

And travel throughout our treasured fatherland  

To sing, to laugh, to long, and to love.


Translation by THANH-THANH