A poem in Vietnamese by Trương Đình Phượng
Translator: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm
Photography: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm



A woman sitting by the windowsill
busy picking up each strand of dying light
her vivid evocation like an epic movie
knotted and in disarray through her hair
a whirlwind of Northern winter chill cutting through her dreams

A woman sitting by the windowsill
a piece of a dying sun at the tail end of her eyes
idle hands
barely able to support her own shadow

A woman stirring the entire night

Trying to find the right words, to quieten her youth

Người đàn bà ngồi bên bậu cửa
mải miết gom từng sợi chiều rơi
ký ức như cuốn phim dài
xới tung tóc rối
gió bấc cứa ngang mầm giấc mơ

Người đàn bà ngồi bên bậu cửa
Mảnh mặt trời chết dần sau đuôi mắt
bàn tay ngu ngơ
không đỡ nổi bóng mình

Người đàn bà mải miết khoắng màn đêm

Tìm lời ru thiếu nữ


Trương Đình Phượng, the poet and writer born in 1984, currently lives in Nghệ An, Việt Nam.

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.


  1. Trying to “quieten her youth” is powerful. It brings the poem into perspective—a powerful message and reality. Trying to pick up light when the sun has to set—it will set no matter what we do to keep it. It’s bittersweet but it’s true. I love that message

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is also my favourite line. The poet wrote this piece around your age yeah, it is natural that you could relate perhaps. I don’t think he realises that he’s writing about the softer side of himself upon self reflection. He is someone I recently discovered. I recognise a kind arrogance that I find annoying but respect at the same time, a stubbornness I find inside me. I don’t know whether I should punch him in the face or hug him. I am still learning about his poetry, his poetry has depth unlike most poetry I find all over the internet without substance. Thank you for waking me up like a cup of coffee “my best friend”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You know, I for some strange reason always get attracted to content that are about reminiscing on the youthful days that have ended. Some songs that I really like are “Youth” by Foxes, and “Wasting my Young Years” by London Grammar. The ironic thing is that I don’t mind growing up and getting old. I do make sure I keep myself young on the inside though (don’t grow up, it’s a trap hehe), so maybe it’s that.

        Punch him or hug him? Sounds like true love tbh hahahaha. Wait wait wait waiiiittttt!!!! Did I ACTUALLY get upgraded to BEST FRIEND?????? Okay okay okay okay okayyyyy awesome!!! Since we’re besties now, we need to do best friend stufffff!!!!! so I’ve been wanting and planning to come to Australia for the longest! The trip is still a few years away BUT NOW IT’S MORE EXCITING BECAUSE I CAN SEE MY BESTIE WHILE I’M THEREEEEE!!!! 😁

        Liked by 1 person

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