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7 article(s) translated from Vietnamese

Sage on the Mountain

In “Sage on the Mountain,” Vietnamese writer Đỗ Bích Thúy reveals the little-seen world of a Tay ethnic minority village in the northern province of Ha Giang near the Chinese border.  The protagonist, Dzin, has returned to visit her aged mother, a war widow who feels caught between the old ways and the new.  Ma and my nephew, Sinh, met me at the fork where the trail turned up the slope that led to the house on stilts. It perched...

From the Deep Earth

The day you came, the world knew how to breathe, earth worms suddenly knew how to sing, and the earth's surface trembled with life. My mother had kept my embryo inside for days and months where I wriggled, the world too small. I howl inside of my own hoarse voice. Wind blows me into your hands, so I feel the pain pierce my fingers and toes. Your gaze opens the sky. The sun rises and forgets to set. You place me on your lips and on your chest. Our hands join to make a...

Freeing Myself

One day the wind lifts me high so I look down and see an ant imprisoned in a multi-folder email box, in a mobile phone ringing from time to time. One day the wind lifts me high so I look down and see a bird imprisoned in the praises of his flock, in the limits of a sense of beauty pre-arranged. One day the wind lifts me high; the wind hands me a pair of wings and tells me to free myself from wings and fly above my thoughts. Translation of “Coi Goi.” First...

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...

From behind a Closed Window

Is there, out there, a sky Sunny or windy or humid with autumn A sky at dawn, or a sunset sky? Are there, out there, human faces Strange or familiar Happy or hurting Friendly faces, or faces like beasts'? Is there, out there, a nothingness With no future, and no past? Was it I who drew the curtains across the window? Is there, out there, dark earth That buries all flesh that once was beauty That buries all glances, all shut lips? Is there only this place?...

The Utopian

I will find myself in a mirror My name in a line of poetry My destiny in a person I've never met Once I lay in the sun by the Caspian Sea Listening to songs of seaweed and foam A sleepwalker with nothing to lose or gain In that Khuong Co land, the sun set under my feet Now I raise my eyes Dim with the red dust of time Or is it the dust of remembered mountains? Invisible candles shine in the night There is hope in every moment In the crossroads of my window...

A Bullet Fired into the Night

Like a falling leaf in a dream Or an arm in a dream, dangling A night flight, with eyes wide open A June night, an astonished look No one sees the vanished smile The soldier's dark face above the barrel No one fears the barrel now— An eel sniffing the mud In a garden, banana leaves still catch dew On tall bamboo, a nest of storks sleeps soundly Only an ancient bat startles In a closed house, a mother turns up her lamp Not knowing she will be lonelier now And...
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