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POETRY/THƠ

Lê Vĩnh Tài | no. 11:11 – without the vernacular, we’re all petrified

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

without the vernacular

we’re all petrified

.

oh,

the whiteness of the school shirt

you worn

it’s innocence

the shape of a diminished flame

.

fear taking a step

back

affront

love

_____

không còn ngôn ngữ

mọi người điếng lặng

ồ,

màu trắng của chiếc áo học trò

bạn mặc

sự hồn nhiên

là hình ảnh ngọn lửa đã nguội

sự sợ hãi đã lùi

bước

trước

tình yêu…

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

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

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