Listening

A poem in Vietnamese by Sấu Mã
Translator: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm
Phographer: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

LISTENING

.

Swallowing half a smile 

Remembering that place you’re still protesting

Those silent meaningless messages
.

Everyone will eventually be alone

With no one to hustle

Just panting haemoglobin

.

Are rosy when we are rosy

Pink lilies radiating joy*

Quaking the depths waters

.

Clouds white sweeping

though wait 

There are those vows

.

Light rises

The birds sounding like running water

Head lean bubbling listening.

.

November 2018

_____

LẮNG NGHE

.
Nuốt nửa tiếng cười
Nhớ nơi kia bạn đang chống chọi
Những nhắn thầm chơi vơi
.
Ai rồi cũng một mình
Chẳng có người chen lấn
Chỉ những hồng cầu là hổn hển
.
Cứ thắm khi mình đang thắm
Súng hồng bắn tia vui
Động sâu đáy nước
.
Mây trắng bay ngờm ngợp
Chưa đâu
Còn mấy nguyện thề
.
Nắng lên
Tiếng chim như nước
Nghiêng đầu róc rách lắng nghe.
.
 

*There is wordplay here: water lilies = hoa súng, súng = gun, bắn= shoot, bắn tia = radiating/propel. Too difficult for me to translate directly. Pink lilies symbolise purity of the hearth of youths, dreams, romance, marriage.


Sấu Mã, the poet is a retired professor living in Vietnam.

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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