in memory of Ly Hao Nam

A poem in Vietnamese by Đặng Tiến
Translator: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm
Photography: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

Nhà Thờ Núi, Nha Trang, Việt nam

The death of a child. As a community who do we grieve for? It is not only for the child but for the survival of his family. It is an accident. It is done. We must stop pointing the finger, think, and let his death not be in vain. We must prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again. We must look for a solution, not throw around blame. Talk is easy, but forgiveness is hard, how could his parents ever forgive themselves. How could his mother forgive his father, how could his father forgive his future siblings. It is the death of a family. The death of a community. Stop pointing the finger. You don’t have to do anything, just be there for his family. Just listen, let them point the finger, let them cry, allow them a chance to breathe, let them tell you the story, again and again, a thousand times, so that the memory of their son remains fresh in their heart. And by a miracle, they might heal.



Oh small soul fly
Fly away
Fly away
Fly to other skies
Fly to other lands
You can now go anywhere
Don’t come back
Never come back…

The unspeakable tragedy!
The terrifying 25 cm diametre and 35 m depth
The chilling numbers
The grinding metal
The pain of death, the last moments of hunger, cold, and fear
A hell pit in the realm of humanity
Amidst the audible prayers
The no show of a miracle
The non-existent miracle
The return of no miracle
There was no chance of a miracle!

Fly away little soul!
Don’t ever come back!
Oh fly away!

January 2023

Linh hồn bé nhỏ hãy bay đi
Bay đi
Bay đi
Đến những vùng trời khác
Đến những miền đất khác
Đến nơi nao cũng được
Đừng trở lại
Vĩnh viễn đừng trở lại…

Ôi! Khủng khiếp! Khủng khiếp! Khủng khiếp!
25 cm và 35 m
Những con số lạnh lùng
Ầm ầm kim khí vào cuộc
Chết đau chết đói chết rét chết vì hoảng sợ
Địa ngục thăm thẳm giữa miền nhân gian
Ơi những người phát tâm cầu nguyện
Phép màu không xuất hiện
Phép màu trốn biệt mất rồi
Phép màu cũng không bao giờ trở lại
Đừng bao giờ trở lại phép màu ơi!

Hãy bay đi linh hồn bé nhỏ!
Đừng trở lại bao giờ!
Hãy bay đi!
Bay đi…

Đặng Tiến, the poet born in 1961 is a retired lecturer, who currently lives in Thái Nguyên, 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.


  1. So beautifully written from the true spirit of tenderness and kindness. There must be nothing worse than having a child die.

    My deepest sympathy for this family. I will say a prayer for healing and that people around the family take heed to this gracious advice for the community.

    Thank you Trâm. Love and prayers to you as well. 🦋🌹🙏🙏🙏🌺🌷

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a very difficult thing. We lost 2 children many, many years ago and I can still remember the events of that time. Though, both losses strengthen our resolve and life did go on, even though 2 pieces of our hearts were taken away. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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