Hai Phong

Yellow lamps, prostitutes' eyes
Lines of sad provincial poems

On a farewell afternoon, yellow leaves are falling
Ocean winds have no ports or borders
Ocean clouds go their own way

Like dates, the harbors have no names
In the Lap River the tide rises
Fishing boats go and come
Someone waits at the Binh ferry for someone
A smile is blurred by cement-plant smoke

The people of Hai Phong are like sea-wind and sun
Off they go, with the dawn
Their footprints cover the earth

Long streets and salty waves—
On lonely nights I look toward Hai Phong

Translation of "Hải Phœng." Copyright Ngo Tu Lap. Translation copyright 2007 by Martha Collins and Ngo Tu Lap. All rights reserved.