Categories
PHOTOGRAPHY POETRY/THƠ

Tô Thuỳ Yên | The empty café (4)

Tô Thuỳ Yên (1938-2019) real name was Đinh Thành Tiên, born in Go Vap, Gia Dinh, Vietnam, an alumnus at Petrus Ký and Đại học Văn khoa Sài Gòn. He was a teacher and journalist in Saigon, a Major in the Vietnam Army prior to 1975. After 1975 served 13 years in re-education camps, in 1993, he moved with his family to the United States as a former political prisoner.

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 Tô Thuỳ Yên, translation by Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

 

The empty café

 

Heading there, perhaps for a date

A date with whom I can’t remember

 

Heading there, a desiccated heart the hollowness of a ball

Grasping exhaustingly at earthly cravings

 

This afternoon was harsh with sunlight…

This afternoon was heavy with rain…

 

The empty café, not a soul a being in sight

The lamp is like a thousand years in waiting

 

My fault, it can only be my fault

Unable to recall the right time

 

I’m sorry, to you my apology

You came, and no one was here to meet you

 

Life is such a mess

There’s no point rushing

Try anyway, hold it together

So it’s worth the trip

 

This afternoon was harsh with sunlight…

This afternoon was heavy with rain…

 

The café empty, the lamp is like 

A thousand years in waiting

(November 2021)

Quán vắng vẻ

 

Đi đến đó, dường như ta có hẹn

Hẹn cùng ai, không nhớ rõ là ai

 

Đi đến đó, lòng khô như trái rỗng

Khua rụng rời nỗi đói khát trần ai

 

Chiều nay trời nắng gắt…

Chiều nay trời mưa dầm…

 

Quán vắng vẻ, không ai người đến gặp

Ngọn đèn như nỗi đợi thiên thu

 

Lỗi tự mình, lỗi tự mình thôi

Đã chẳng nhớ ra ngày tháng hẹn

 

Tội cho người, tội bấy cho người

Cũng đến đây chờ chẳng gặp ai

 

Việc đời lầm lẫn vậy

Hối mấy chẳng hơn gì

Thôi thì hãy cố nán

Cho đáng một lần đi

 

Chiều nay trời nắng gắt…

Chiều nay trời mưa dầm…

 

Quán vắng vẻ, ngọn đèn như nỗi đợi

Thiên thu

 

Nguồn: Tô Thùy Yên, Thơ tuyển, Minnesota, 1995

 

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

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

9 replies on “Tô Thuỳ Yên | The empty café (4)”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s