Thanh Tâm Tuyền | LEARNING HOW TO SIT (3)

Thanh Tâm Tuyền (1936-2006), born Dzư Văn Tâm in Vinh, Vietnam. The legendary Vietnamese-American poet after 1975, did 7 years in re-education camp, before taking his final breath in Minnesota, America.

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 Thanh Tâm Tuyền, translation by Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm




The afternoon hovered above the burial ground.

The autumn drifted void of fragrance besides the pungent scent of cut grass.

There in the corner of the eyes the sparkle of a diminishing summer.

At the foot of the hill the homes tucked behind a sparse patch of the forest.

To sit and watch. To sit and think.

The cool breeze cutting short the thoughts.

To sit as heaven’s sowing. The sowing of one’s own butchering.

Sleeping with eyes wide open unaware.


Translated August 2021



Tặng Ngọc Dũng tức công tử Chí Hoà


Chiều chiều lững thững lên bãi tha ma.

Trời thu la đà không mùi hương trừ mùi cỏ ngái.

Trong khoé mắt hoen ửng loé góc trời mùa hạ đang lụn.

Những hàng bia lởm chởm sau lưng trên cỏ mượt ngả màu.

Dưới chân đồi xóm nhà ở sau rừng cây thưa.

Ngồi ngắm. Ngồi ngẫm.

Gió mát đầu óc bay tảng.

Ngồi như trời trồng. Tự trồng cái bị thịt.

Ngủ mở mắt thao láo không hay.




By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

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

4 replies on “Thanh Tâm Tuyền | LEARNING HOW TO SIT (3)”

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