Lê Vĩnh Tài | no. 10:2 – April noon, there’s no sunlight

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


noon, there’s no sunlight

all in a blinding fog.


the citizens

like sheep in the meadows

in the streets





tháng 4

buổi trưa không có nắng

mọi thứ mù sương…


nhân dân

như đàn cừu trên cánh đồng

đầy đường



NB. The complexity of words provokes buried emotional scars I thought I’ve since forgotten. Passing comments, much like the smell of engine oil takes me back to my childhood in the hull of a tiny carved wooden boat, then I would suddenly get a message from my mum “come for dinner tonight if you’re not busy”.

My mother with her kind heart, her patience in enduring the years my father was gone. Twenty seven years old (like I am there in the snapshot), with four tiny children. There was no Medicare, no social service, no housing, no… She was then, still a child.


By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

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

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