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ART POETRY/THƠ

Quách Thoại | Phạm Văn Thông (4)

Quách Thoại
(1930-1957)
Born Đoàn Thoại in Hue, Vietnam. He loved Tagore from an early age, at 18 he left for Saigon and was a freelancer for newspapers like Đoàn kết, Làm dân. Within two years became the General Secretary for Nguồn sống. He was a dreamer, generous, and lived life to its fullest. Addicted to opium, he died in hospital alone from tuberculosis.

Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm, the poet and translator, born 1971 in Phu Nhuan, Saigon, Vietnam. The pharmacist currently lives and works in Western Sydney, Australia.

By Quách Thoại, translation by Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

 

Phạm Văn Thông

 

 

Can’t you see that?

Both of their feet were sticking above the soil

In the middle of the field

 

Can’t you remember?

When they took it out into the field

It was still alive

To the moment its head was shoved in the ground

It was still alive

 

Can’t you remember?

When they buried it

It was still alive

 

What can’t you understand?

When they buried it

It was still alive

 

It was kicking, it was shaking

It could still hear, it could still smell

It was chewing, it was still swallowing

Dirt and more dirt

 

There, it’s still moving

Its two legs in the air kicking

I thought I could still hear it screaming

In the middle of the silent empty field.

 

– My name is Phạm Văn Thông…

– I won’t… I won’t… I won’t…

– Leave it alone, you keep shoving their heads into the ground burying them alive.

– No! No!

– Leave its body alone, you keep shoving their heads into the ground burying them alive

– To your very roots you Vietnamese are liars

– You keep shoving their heads into the ground burying them alive.

 

So it’s still alive: Phạm Văn Thông!

 

(September 2021)

 

Anh có thấy không?

Hai chân nó trồi lên mặt đất kìa

Giữa khoảng đồng không

 

Anh có nhớ không?

Lúc người ta bắt nó ra ngoài đồng

Thì nó vẫn còn sống

Ðến khi nhận đầu nó xuống

Thì nó vẫn còn sống

 

Anh có nhớ không?

Khi người ta lấp đất lên rồi

Thì nó vẫn còn sống

 

Anh có hiểu không?

Khi người ta chôn nó

Thì nó vẫn còn sống

 

Nó vùng, nó vằng

Nó nghe, nó ngửi

Nó nhai, nó nuốt

Toàn đất là đất

 

Kìa, nó cử động

Ngo ngoe hai chân trong không

Tôi tưởng còn nghe nó rống

Giữa khoảng ruộng đất im lìm đồng không.

 

– Tôi tên Phạm Văn Thông…

– Tôi không… tôi không… tôi không…

– Mặc kệ nó, cứ nhận đầu chôn sống.

– Không! Không!

– Kệ xác nó, cứ nhận đầu chôn sống

– Ðồ lũ bay Việt Gian cả giống

– Cứ nhận đầu chôn sống.

 

Thì nó vẫn còn sống: Phạm Văn Thông!

 

—–

Nguồn: Giữa lòng cuộc đời, Tạp chí Văn nghệ xuất bản, Sài Gòn, 1962

 

https://www.rfa.org/vietnamese/news/programs/LiteratureAndArts/quach-thoai-first-vnese-dissident-poet-ml-11152014075139.html

 

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

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

One reply on “Quách Thoại | Phạm Văn Thông (4)”

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