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POETRY/THƠ

Nguyễn Đình Toàn | On the hand sadness (3)

Nguyễn Đình Toàn first penned under Tô Hà Vân, born September 6th, 1936 at Gia Lâm, by the Red river, outside of Hanoi. Left for South Vietnam in 1954, there he became actively involved in the arts, literature, poetry, plays, music, in association with literary magazines like Văn, Văn học. He collaborated with Trần Phong Giao for many years in the selection of literature for Văn Magazine. He took up the position as the editor of Saigon Radio after that, and became known for the Music programme in the early seventies. He was captured twice after 1975, and was imprisoned in a re-education camp for nearly six years. He and his wife, Madame Thu Hồng, settled in the United States of America at the end of 1998. A retiree, he currently resides in South California with his family.

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 Nguyễn Đình Toàn, translation by Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

 

On the hand sadness

 

Your return 

A black winter

An abandoned home

The mouldy damp

Your return

Hands filled with tears

Upon the dusty threshold

Your childhood passes by

.

Your return

Upon the grave of a lover

Rocks strewn with flowers

Underfoot the ticklish grass

The cold wind

The flicker of a match 

The flicker of a match

Ignited the sadness

.

The old dreams

Lit up once more

The old photographs

Burnt out once more

Upon your return

Hands of scented smoke

The dissipation of bygone sadness

Say anything, anything at all my love…

 

(December 2021)

_____

Nỗi buồn và bàn tay

 

Khi em trở về

Trời mùa đông đen

Căn nhà không người

Và mùi ẩm mốc

Khi em trở về

Tay đầy nước mắt

Trên thành cửa bụi

Tuổi thơ đi qua

.

Khi em trở về

Mộ người yêu đó

Hoa trên phiến đá

Cỏ buồn ngón chân

Và cơn gió rét

Que diêm bật lên

Que diêm bật lên

Nỗi buồn thắp lên

.

Những mơ ước cũ

Sáng lên một lần

Những hình ảnh cũ

Tắt đi một lần

Khi em trở về

Bàn tay khói hương

Buồn xưa sắp hết

Nói gì đi em…

 

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

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

2 replies on “Nguyễn Đình Toàn | On the hand sadness (3)”

[…] Nguyễn Đình Toàn first penned under Tô Hà Vân, born September 6th, 1936 at Gia Lâm, by the Red river, outside of Hanoi. Left for South Vietnam in 1954, there he became actively involved in the arts, literature, poetry, plays, music, in association with literary magazines like Văn, Văn học. He collaborated with Trần Phong… — Read on songngutaitram.org/2021/12/06/nguyen-dinh-toan-on-the-hand-sadness-3/ […]

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