Lê Vĩnh Tài | AN EPIC ODE OF UKRAINE – 38/43 – drink the fiery drink burning your hand

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 blogger, 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

March 18th, 2022

drink the fiery spirit burning your hand

snowy meadows bullets flying erasing forests
suddenly losing one’s nation for no reason
welcoming tanks with shoulder rockets
there’s also a sea of people on the other side
they’re fighting for a spare roll of toilet paper
confusion at the supermarkets of the enemy
the artillery has arrived and still long is autumn
drink and drink to end up starting all over again
twice there’s has been a tragedy at the children’s hospital
square round and crooked bricks falling
broken mothers and bubs in their arms running
drink away the tears like rain
Nato opening up to soothe your sorrow my love
drink to the rhythm of cannons through the night
as we did in our yellow skin stayed up once upon a time

uống đi rượu lửa phỏng tay

cánh đồng tuyết trắng đạn bay xoá rừng
tự dưng mất nước lưng chừng
vác vai tên lửa nỗi mừng xe tăng
bên kia cũng một biển người
người ta giành cuộn giấy chùi còn dư
phân vân siêu thị nghịch thù
pháo binh đã tới mùa thu còn dài
uống đi về lại sơ khai
bệnh viện nhà trẻ đã hai lần buồn
gạch rơi viên méo viên tròn
mẹ ôm em bé thân mòn đong đưa
uống đi nước mắt như mưa
nato mở rộng cho vừa lòng em
uống đi đại bác ru đêm
chúng ta từng thức những đêm da vàng

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 | AN EPIC ODE OF UKRAINE – 38/43 – drink the fiery drink burning your hand”

Wow, this is powerful and beautifully expressive. The delivery is so keenly done. As if this is the norm. Thank you for both this beautiful poem and the translation. Blessings to you and your families. ❤️🤗🦋

Liked by 1 person

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