I was not born a poet

A poem in Vietnamese by Lê Vĩnh Tài
Translator: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm
Art: Đinh Trường Chinh

[the poem was written long before LVT and I have ever met, but I feel with the utmost certainty, the certainty from within my bones, that the poem was oddly written for me. We are very much the same person, wink. Trâm.]


I was not born 

a poet

I am the divided pieces

a collection of poets

long gone

I’m the pieces recycled

so there is less waste in the world

the pieces blew up

in the grandest way

thus there are parts of me

missing 

and I’m still

searching for them

like leaves in the wind

dancing at the precipice(of everything)

pretending not to feel the cold.

June 2018

_____

tôi không sinh ra là một
nhà thơ

tôi bị chia nhỏ từ những mảnh vụn
từ những nhà thơ
đã chết

tôi là những mảnh vụn được tái chế
để thế giới không lãng phí
những mảnh vụn đã nổ tung
theo cách đẹp nhất

nên một phần cơ thể tôi
đã mất tích
và tôi đang đi
tìm nó

như cái lá trên gió
nhảy múa trên bờ vực
giả vờ như không biết lạnh…


Lê Vĩnh Tài, the poet and translator born in 1966 in Buon Ma Thuot, Daklak, Vietnam. The retired doctor is still a resident of the Western Highlands and a businessman in Buon Ma Thuot.

Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm, the blogger, poet, and translator, was born in 1971 in Phu Nhuan, Saigon, Vietnam. The pharmacist currently lives and works in Western Sydney, Australia.

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

There's magic in translating a body of work from one language to another.

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