Ở cửa hàng đồng nát

A poem in English by Charles Simic
Translator: Lê Vĩnh Tài
Photography: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

một giỏ lát nhỏ

đầy nhóc những cái huy chương 

từ những cuộc chiến tranh thần thánh

chẳng ai còn nhớ

tôi lật qua lật lại một cái

để cảm nhận mũi kim

đã một thời cắm phập vào 

bộ ngực sưng phồng của người anh hùng.

———————

IN THE JUNK STORE

A small, straw basket

Full of medals

From good old wars

No one recalls.

I flipped one over

To feel the pin

That once pierced

The hero’s swelling chest.


Dušan Simić, born: on 9 May 1938, known as Charles Simic, is a Serbian American poet and former co-poetry editor of the Paris Review. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1990 for The World Doesn’t End, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1986 for Selected Poems, 1963–1983 and in 1987 for Unending Blues.

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.

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

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

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