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POETRY/THƠ

Lê Vĩnh Tài | no. 11:16 – without the vernacular, the poem can’t see with its eyes blind

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

the poem can’t see with its eyes blind

it plays with its tongue

.

fondling love and or justice

its moist tongue licking

and the rough papillae 

a bit ticklish

making us a little excited but no longer feverish with fear 

for no reason at all

_____

không có ngôn ngữ

bài thơ không thể nhìn với đôi mắt mù

nó chơi với cái lưỡi

để vuốt ve tình yêu hay công lý

nó liếm

và những cái gai trên lưỡi

làm mọi người

hơi nhột

nhưng không còn sợ bâng quơ phát sốt…

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

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

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