Noon came rain

A poem in Vietnamese by Đinh Trường Chinh
Translator: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm
Art: Đinh Trường Chinh

Noon Came Rain***


The rain came by the moor

the words blue mid-noon

from the wind an eave

lost midst a noiseless day


noon drapes a soul err

a poem so unknown

a heart ripen just

for the words to fly free


rain noon on the alps*(xóm ngái)

the earth’s fragrance damp

words lay scattered wild

sided in the cracks of noon.**


October 2018


Mưa Về Trưa


mưa về ngang bến sông

bài thơ buồn giữa ngọ

ta tìm nơi trú gió

lạc giữa ngày khan âm


trưa vắt ngang hồn sai

một bài thơ rất lạ

tâm nào vừa rụng trái

cho chữ nghĩa la đà


mưa về trưa xóm ngái 

hương đất nồng phiêu diêu

bài thơ nằm vụng dại

thất giạt giữa khe chiều.


*xóm ngái: indigenous mountainous villages in Vietnam; though the word “ngái” part of the phrase “ngái ngủ” descriptive of drowsiness. The poem hints of an afternoon nap.

** tried as I may, I couldn’t stick to 5 syllables.

***noon: a metaphor for midlife? 🙂

NB. There’s a lot of wordplays, impossible to transform. Eg.  “Tâm nào vừa rụng trái”: tâm-heart, rụng trái- ripe fruit; a heart ripen fell, “ripen” is more accurate than “fallen” in my initial translation. “Cho chữ nghĩa là đà”: the meaning of the word; a life more meaningful will flow free like canopies swaying in the wind.

Đinh Trường Chinh, the poet, and artist was born in 1970 in South Vietnam. The poet currently works in IT in Virginia, 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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