Forest memory – 1999

A poem in Vietnamese by Inra Sara
Translator: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm


In the dark corner of the forest remains the flame of your funeral pyre father

my childhood memories shaken



Your shadow father hid amongst the hills

in threatening instalments


Mother is thin in each arid footstep

a forest now strewn with well worn paths


Remains nothing but the feral blaring whiteness 

filled with late night birdsong


Blew free the embers of your cremation father

held tight in my  childhood memories

in silence


In the days to come disappear 

into a forest of tall buildings and tar.





Còn ngọn lửa đám thiêu cha nơi góc tối của rừng

lay kí ức tuổi thơ con

động cựa


Bóng cha xưa đi lẩn bóng đồi

đồi ôm mang dọa nạt


Mẹ gầy khô dáng bước

rừng hôm nay đâu cũng lối mòn


Chỉ còn nỗi trắng hoang thảng thốt

chất đầy tiếng chim khuya


Thổi bạt tàn lửa đám thiêu cha

nén kí ức tuổi thơ con

nín lặng


Mai con hút lẩn vào rừng phố.

Inra Sara, the poet, and critic was born on 20 September 1957 in Làng Chăm Mỹ Nghiệp, 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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