Spratly Islands


Spratly! Spratly! The islands are merry around,

Encircled by white grief everywhere so profound.

We soldiers about ten, strange to waves and tides,

Lying dormant still feel the islands drift, all slides.


The islands are wild, absent even any ghost;

Plants of primitive species, of no name to boast,

Do add day after day the color green of chill

Onto the stony human bodies forever standing still.


Four hundred nautical miles! as an unable cruiser,

I cry, I laugh, like a violently physical self-abuser;

I bend my back patiently to swallow the bitter pill,

With no more shield, I try to walk fast in the drill.


In the headwind season, severe wind repletion,

The East bank is mudslide, the West one accretion.

The unrooted trees are waiting to be pulverized:

Do they repent of being born in a spot ill-devised?


Down there the dreamlike cyan gulf water shows

The clusters of libratory algae that always glows

Like the layers of sadness which continously lines

Under my solitary soul that still lively shines.


Oh! Terra firma, do you hear me? calling I am.

To smash the boundlessness, the call-signal jam.

Open for me, well, break open the thick distance!

This bird awoken is lonely crying in persistence.


Daytime. The white daylight dazzles as to file;

It blazes and peals in a dance of such a silly style.

My hair seems, each strand red hot to be burned,

And cracks like the bloom of youth concerned.


Hey! The skinny plants along the subsided bank,

Uprooted but still striving for existence tho blank,

Do make efforts until even being dragged away

Or the time the edges are green in a Renewal Day.


Corals grow, bristling with many a bonny branch;

Other afflictions also come to an end, so stanch.

Time joins the stones into a secluded milestone:

I use it as a stela in memory of the One I enthrone.


Translation by THANH-THANH