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 has 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 is 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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