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POETRY/THƠ

Nguyễn Khánh Duy | The Migrating Swifts (3)

A flock of birds with the memories of a homeland
packed tightly in their mouths,
headed for an oasis out of view
to drop a homeland on an alien sea.

By Nguyễn Khánh Duy, translation by Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

 

My throat swells up, and the tears fall in a mixture of sadness and hope upon your acknowledgement of my pain, my family’s pain, the pain of more than 700,000 Vietnamese boat people. More so from a poet of your generation, Gen Z, my children, I am beyond grateful for your acknowledgement of our truth.

The pain is buried so deep, swept aside for countless decades in attempts  to leave them behind, so it may be forgotten. Such scars are ingrained in each chained of our DNA. How could we forget.

We must acknowledge such hurtful truths, to ever move on. Acknowledge it yes, but we must never forget. Because it is our history, such a pill could never be swallowed whole, it must be chewed, the bitterness ground down, savoured, before it is swallowed, and washed down with blood and tears, to there, in our hearts, stored for the generations to come.

Thank you Nguyễn Khánh Duy,

 

Trâm


The Migrating Swifts

 

The flock of swifts from the sea took flight

an ensued exodus

head off with memories 

packed tightly in their mouths

in search of a homeland.

 

They flew across the Sun

part of the way left behind,

they flew past the moon

the Square(Ba Dinh) a distant memory,

they never looked back nor did they looked at each other

nor were there any postulation of what’s ahead,

with their eyes closed they flew.

 

A flock of birds with the memories of a homeland 

packed tightly in their mouths,

headed for an oasis out of view

to drop a homeland on an alien sea.

 

Di yến

 

Đoàn chim cất cánh từ biển

theo chuyến thiên di

ngậm chặt kỷ niệm trong miệng

mà đi

tìm quê hương phía trước.

 

Họ bay qua mặt trời

một quảng trường bỏ lại,

họ bay qua nguyệt cầu

một sân khấu lãng quên,

họ không nhìn lại cũng không nhìn nhau

cũng không đoái trông phía trước,

họ nhắm mắt và bay.

 

Đoàn chim ngậm chặt quê hương trong miệng,

bay về ốc đảo chưa hình thành

để thả quê hương xuống một vùng biển lạ.

 

 

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

There's magic in translating a body of work from one language to another.

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