Lê Vĩnh Tài | no. 18:34 – your poem is twice as long you said

Lê Vĩnh Tài, the Vietnamese poet and translator born 1966 in Buon Ma Thuot, Daklak, Vietnam. The retired doctor is still a resident of the Western Highlands, a businessman in Buon Ma Thuot.

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 Lê Vĩnh Tài, translation by Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

your poem is twice as long

you said


hence you love twice as much

and when I claimed

love is limitless

you laughed


you said you would remember

if I place a kiss

on your lips


but I’m

a little 


kissed you on the neck



hence the poem ends up hotter

than the Sun

you can talk all you want, laugh

take in the air


because we

our children, grandchildren

you inhale and exhale

like the tides

inhale as the moon

drifts by

exhale till



like firecrackers.


bạn nói với tôi bài thơ của bạn

dài gấp hai


nên bạn yêu gấp đôi

và khi tôi

nói, tình yêu là vô hạn

bạn cười

bạn nói bạn sẽ nhớ

nếu như tôi hôn lên

môi bạn


nhưng tôi


vụng về

đã hôn lên cổ của bạn để

thay thế

và bài thơ thậm chí còn nóng hơn

cả mặt trời

bạn tha hồ nói, cười

và thở

rằng chúng ta

con cháu chúng ta

bạn hít vào và thở ra

như thủy triều

hít vào mỗi khi mặt trăng

trôi dạt

và thở ra

tới khi chúng ta

nổ tung

như xác pháo…


By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

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

6 replies on “Lê Vĩnh Tài | no. 18:34 – your poem is twice as long you said”

Beautiful. I wish I had a second language. I learnt some French at second. My friend is Portuguese and she taught me a few words. I struggle with spelling and grammar in my own language because of a poor education and being dyslexic. At 39 I took up writing to challenge myself and improve myself.
Thank you so much for sharing your work in both languages. 💖

Liked by 1 person

Thank you. Me too, I’m dyslexic. I this helps me with translating Vietnamese into English, since the language grammatically are in opposite directions. My Vietnamese have improved a lot over the last four years. Though I have only started blogging in May. It’s never too late to learn. I wish you all the best in finding a language you love. Take care.

Liked by 1 person

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