Sunday, February 7, 2010

Thoughts of Hanoi by Nguyen Thi Vinh

taken from this website

The night is deep and chill
as in early autumn. Pitchblack,
it thickens after each lightning flash.
I dream of Hanoi:

Co-ngu Road ten years of separation
the way back sliced by a frontier of hatred
I want to bury the past
to bum the future
to still I yean
still I fear
those endless nights
waiting for dawn.

Brother,
how is Hang Dao now?
How is Ngoc Son temple?
Do the trains still run
each day from Hanoi
to the neighboring towns?
To Bac-ninh, Cam-giang, Yen-bai,
the small villages, islands
of brown thatch in a lush green sea?
The girls
bright eyes
ruddy cheeks
four-piece dresses
raven-bill scarves'
sowing harvesting
spinning weaving
all year round,
the boys
plowing
transplanting
in the fields
in their shops
running across
the meadow at evening
to fly kites
and sing alternating songs.'

Stainless blue sky,
jubilant voices of children
stumbling through the alphabet,
village graybeards strolling to the temple,
grandmothers basking in twilight sun,
chewing betel leaves'
while the children run-
Brother,
how is all that now?
Or is it obsolete?
Are you like me,
reliving the past,
imagining the future?
Do you count me as a friend
or am I the enemy in your eyes?
Brother, I am afraid
that one day I'll be with the March-North Army'
meeting you on your way to the South.
I might be the one to shoot you then
or you me
but please
not with hatred.

For don't you remember how it was,
you and I in school together,
plotting our lives together?
Those roots go deep!

Brother, we are men,
conscious of more
than material needs.
How can this happen to us
my friend
my foe?

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