As a pupil, I used to write poetry in school-time;

Two grades: three years! hard exams to pass, class to climb.

Green envelopes, rose paper-nightly copying and reading fans;

School-age verse: dreamy soul but empty hands!    


Grown-up, I used to write poetry on the battlefields smart,

Exposed to the enemy’s bullets aimed at our chest, heart.

Ink mixed with blood, the foes on all sides besieging as reef,

Inspired by resentment, poetry reinforced my belief!


Then, I used to write poetry in every hard labor camp,

Defying chains and shackles and even starvation, to stamp,

Writing captives’ verse, setting to disgraced inmates’ strains,

Hoarse to eulogize... the sublime time, superb brains!


I used to roll over onto my back on the wooden floor       

Under fire-pouring tole roofs–filled with inspirational core;

Though the draft was dirty, the verse should be splendid

Repaying my muse’s boon after years to abyss descended.


I used to be rapt in poetry even at the market stand

Only awakened when customers called for certain brand;

I gave my wife a hand some five hours in the daytime,

Supporting a horde of children–hence pages of my rhyme.


Now, here abroad I used to do so while on the work site:

One hand parts to assemble, another scrabble to write.

The leader asked? “Noting... expenditure, total owned!”

The supervisor laughed: “Hello, poet!” and... condoned!


I have leaned on my pen entering life with a heart clear

– Poetry joins humans’ souls, friends far and near –

Silurids through old times from the bottom of mud

Managed to emerge, then have won their calm life-blood.


Pages of poetry continue to increase, multiply every day

Germinating faith, carrying sadness and misfortune away.

Used to submitting myself to fate I have nothing to regret;

Accustomed to utmost bane, such bit of adversity – no sweat!


Dark nights must pass – morning light will be again bright;

It's this temporary life’s principle of revolution – firm might!

What for to brood on humans’ life while it is so short;

Happiness is by myself, why I always continue to court?


The endeared national flag and the pages of rhyme

Are the great inheritance of this fighter poet’s lifetime.

My last dream is a flag-covered coffin to return to origination 

In a cold grave but full of poetry according to  my aspiration.


Translation by  THANH-THANH