A poem in Vietnamese by Phạm Công Thiện
Translator: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm
Photography: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm


There’s a sadness in the air
Hovering like a curse
There’s a sadness back then
To never meet again

There’s a sadness in the day after that
There where the pixie disrobed
Her tiny breast shy and bold
Red hot scented with moonlight

There’s a sadness in dreams
As the pixie buttoned up
Leaky rain through peach canopies
To never meet again

May 2022


Có chuyện buồn trên cao
Phù phép nổi lào rào
Có chuyện buồn hôm nào
Thôi hết còn gặp nhau

Có chuyện buồn hôm sau
Có nàng tiên cởi áo
Đôi vú nhỏ nghẹn ngào
Thơm nóng đỏ trăng sao

Có chuyện buồn chiêm bao
Nàng tiên cài khuy áo
Mưa dột mấy rừng đào
Thôi hết còn gặp nhau…

Nguồn: Phạm Công Thiện, Trên tất cả đỉnh cao là lặng im, NXB Văn hoá Sài Gòn, 2009

Phạm Công Thiện, the poet, Buddhist philosopher, and scholar, under the name of Nguyên Tánh was born on June 1st, 1941 in Mỹ Tho, Vietnam. He left Vietnam in 1970, lived in Israel, Germany, then for a while in France. In 1983, he moved to the United States, settled in Los Angeles, and became a professor of Buddhism at the College of Buddhist Studies. He passed away on August 3rd, 2011 in Houston, Texas, U.S.A.


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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