I have returned to the old mountain

A poem in Vietnamese by Thái Hạo
Translator: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

Harry, source: Thái Hạo’s social media page
I have returned to the old mountain
by fall the rice stubble have softened
scented in rich consumable damp clay
in light misty rain
winter barely
the barefoot three-year-old
ran for the road as though
he was flying
heading for the sky

I have returned to the old mountain
my mother counting every coin
my father’s back an erect boulder
by Yên river by the endless breeze 
like white gems the Katuk berries
dressed the terracotta courtyard
as the mist wets
the first light

November
the grasshoppers on the tumulus of green grass 
perched watching
the red Sun
in anticipation, the storm at the end of the horizon

November 2020
Tôi về núi cũ
mùa thu đã mềm trong gốc rạ
mùi bùn thơm ngậy như có thể ăn được
mưa phùn
chớm đông
đứa cháu ba tuổi chân trần
chạy như bay ra ngõ
chạy như bay
vào trời

Tôi về núi cũ
mẹ đang ngồi đếm tiền lẻ
lưng bố như đá dựng
gió thổi lồng lộng bên bờ sông Yên
những trái rau ngót trắng như ngọc
treo bên sân gạch hồng
và sương mù
ướt đẫm nắng mai

Bây giờ là tháng 11
những con cào cào đứng trên mộ cỏ xanh
nhìn mặt trời
đỏ ối
nghe bão cuối trời

Thái Hạo, the poet and journalist currently lives 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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