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POETRY/THƠ

Linh Phương | A gangster (3)

Linh Phương, the Vietnamese poet was born and raised in Saigon, Vietnam, his father was from Phong Điền, Thừa Thiên – Huế, his mother from Cần Thơ. He was the acting secretary for the weekly Tinh hoa nữ sinh magazine in 1967.


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 Linh Phương, translation by Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

A Gangster

A gangster from the time I was a loser

In immaturity, away I hid

Far from home. Yep! Far from home

A life as a vagabond far from home 

Mother long ago love the scent of hay

The dry burning fields which covered the entire sky

The sunset would watch in exhaustion. The delta at dusk

Absent of the call for the ferryman by the river

Father long ago took his gun into battle

His body for decades abandoned in the jungle

Seeing him off – barely held were hands

Hands, sleeves covered half the silent tears

(Em)Your hair pinned back in a hurry to grow up

Thought love would always be as endlessly pure and fresh (as the spring)

The lovesickness laid out in leaves side by side at the edge of a dream

Dreamed of the late moon – in tune with the lute

While I lit the candles waited for nightfall

Waited for the return of my father’s holy spirit

A desolate tombstone. The devastating day

Lost with not a place as refuge

A gangster. A hundred times a gangster

Yet still my heart continues to ache

Craved for the sound of crickets in my childhood

To watch my kite endlessly fly

A gangster. A hundred times a gangster

A silent vow to soon come home

Home to reacquaint with the birds

Home to all nine estuaries, swarms of mosquitoes

(December 2021)

_____

Giang hồ

Giang hồ từ thuở ta thất thế

Chí lớn không thành thà ẩn cư

Viễn xứ. Ờ! Thôi thì viễn xứ

Hết đời phiêu bạt chốn quê xa

Mẹ xưa vốn quen mùi rơm rạ

Đốt đồng khô khói phủ che trời

Hoàng hôn mỏi mắt. Chiều châu thổ

Vẳng tiếng kêu đò bên bến sông

Cha xưa cầm súng ra đánh trận

Bỏ xác trên rừng mấy mươi năm

Lần đi đưa tiễn – tay chưa nắm

Vạt áo che ngang mẹ khóc thầm

Em xưa kẹp tóc thề vội lớn

Cứ ngỡ tình xanh mãi biếc xanh

Tương tư xếp lá đôi bờ mộng

Mơ bóng trăng khuya- tiếng nguyệt cầm

Ta xưa thắp nến chờ đêm xuống

Đợi hồn thiêng khuất nẻo cha về

Mộ bia hiu quạnh. Ngày dâu bể

Phách lạc đâu còn chỗ nương thân

Giang hồ. Ta giang hồ trăm bận

Vẫn thấy lòng đau rứt ruột đau

Thèm nghe tiếng dế thời thơ ấu

Ngắm cánh diều bay giữa vô cùng

Giang hồ. Ta giang hồ trăm bận

Thầm hẹn mai này quy cố hương

Ta về làm bạn cùng chim chóc

Lẫn với muỗi mòng chín cửa sông

 

Linh Phương was born and raised in Saigon, Vietnam, his father was from Phong Điền, Thừa Thiên – Huế, his mother from Cần Thơ. He was the acting secretary for the weekly Tinh hoa nữ sinh magazine in 1967.

Source: thivien.net

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

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

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