FLOOD DRIFTED MOM'S GRAVE

 

I knelt on this of the river side,

Mom’s grave was on the other over the tide!

Alas! Water being submerging all the field to destroy,

Each piece of bone floated in the flood pained this boy.

I have got in my body some Mom’s bone and blood.

Now having to watch the surging flood,

I was still alive here, Mom already dead over there!

The surf was immense, but were you anywhere?

 

In the past You passed away I cried with eyes dry,

Now Your bones were drifting, my soul the rising high.

The water upheaved batch after batch

Sweeping away the poor thatch;

It also swirled away

By-Mom’s-side so golden each day.

 

I remembered the time when I supplicated

To follow you to the village market, I duplicated;

You took my hand leading me to the hamlet thence

The yellow flowers bloomed freshly along the fence;

I exclaimed, “Mom, they’re butterflies in a dreamland.”

Mom smiled squeezing my hand.

 

I remembered the pathways

Buffaloes and cows came and went always.

One afternoon, the bamboo rows, the sun running low,

I played with the slant areca shadow,

Mom lectured me, “Mind your sleep could not be eased,

Startled you’d cry and the Fairy would be displeased.”

 

I remembered the rainy seasons when

The winter winds came back so cold wherein

Encircled in your arms I lay cowering,

You conveyed your warmth of love towering

For my sleep to get sound, you satisfied in your profound.

 

I remembered the smooth river to cool down

Flowing to the renowned Hội An Town;

You washed the clothes each evening without variations,

I watched the fish snap the moon and constellations;

Each time a star moved to a higher location

I thrust out my chest so it enters my childish inspiration.

Beholding me your eyes seemed dreaming in the sky;

I wanted to be carried on your back, you did with a lullaby.

 

At present I had returned: torrential waters, huge waves

Swirled doors, whirled homes, swiped caves;

The flood swept away my Mom’s grave! How to crave!

Mom’s bones made the old stream-drifts-to-sea motion

Because your heart itself is the ocean!

You lived a miserable life to give me your love,

Now you had died; I was kneeling as a mourning-dove

On this side; your grave drifted; my nippy soul died.

Oh Mom! How to get over to the other side!

 

My Motherland is submergedWhat damnation!

My crying in my mind all life could not get alleviation!

 

Translation by THANH-THANH