without a voice

A poem in Vietnamese by Lê Vĩnh Tài
Translator: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm
Photography: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

Nhà thờ Đá Phát Diêm 12/2011, Vietnam

without a voice

the poet stole the word:

– sound


and it was salty

as it turned out, the poet stole the wrong word:

– tears


he could smell the word he took by mistake

the smell of fish sauce, the rain, and rays of sunshine


now the only sense he has left is smell

since there’s nothing left but darkness in his eyes…

March 2019


khi bị mất giọng nói
thi sĩ đánh cắp chữ:
– âm thanh
nhưng chàng nghe vị mặn
hoá ra chàng đã đánh cắp nhầm chữ:
– nước mắt
chàng nghe mùi của chữ đã lấy nhầm
mùi nước mắm mùi mưa mùi tóc nắng
chàng chỉ còn có thể nghe thấy mùi
vì hai mắt chàng chỉ còn bóng tối

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.

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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