Home Literature/Poetry BY THE JORDAN RIVER – A Vietnamese Poet Writes Poetry In Palestine

BY THE JORDAN RIVER – A Vietnamese Poet Writes Poetry In Palestine

BY THE JORDAN RIVER – A Vietnamese Poet Writes Poetry In Palestine
Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia

Tran Dang Khoa

1. poet Tran Dang Khoa in his trip to Palestine
Poet Tran Dang Khoa in his trip to Palestine

Tran Dang Khoa was born on April 26, 1958 in Điền Trì village, Quốc Tuấn commune, Nam Sách District, Hải Dương. Currently, he is the Vice-President of Vietnam Writers’ Association, the Editor-in-Chief of Nhà Văn & Cuộc Sống Magazine, and the Vice-President of the Hà Nội Alliance of Arts and Literature Associations.


(To Nguyen Quang Thieu)

Jesus stopped, baptized

On the banks of the Jordan River

He looked up; it was bright

God suddenly saw Heaven.


Thinking there were only a few steps left

To reach the Celestial Realm

His face beamed with happiness

Warmth and peace…


I silently watched the river

That once reflected the visage of God

And is now like a muddy pond

Surrounded by barbed wire.


Upon the Cross

Even the Lord was also executed

Much less the children of God

The fragile human lives…

(*The Jordan River in Palestine)



Crucifixion-Definition-5841eb355f9b5851e56dbb11[Author’s Note: During our stay in Palestine, the poet Sami Tamimi accompanied us to safety for ten days. During that time, however, the occupying army raided his village, shot, and killed his grandson, three-year-old Tamimi Mohammed, who was playing in the yard. The Palestinian people held his funeral with a huge protest]

The Lord has resurrected, why can we not see the Lord?

The Lord has returned in all human lives.

The land of God’s birth has no place for God

In this beloved motherland, God was executed…


God is everywhere. And there is only one God

While Judah is everywhere on the planet.

The murderers of God still pray every day

For His blessings…


It seems that God has just returned in the form of All- Tamimi Mohammed

The pure angel who was shot in front of his house.

The baby’s face shone like the newborn God in His Crib

God is real. It is not hard to believe…


In the past, Jesus was crucified when he was thirty-three years old.

Now, the Lord was executed again at the age of three…



In the city museum of Ramallah

There’s a wall

Small and lonesome

When I approach it

The wall suddenly cries out

Then screams and moans

The voices of men


The elderly


The young voices not yet clear

Like the wild winds howling ou-ah, ou-ah…


How many young people, old people

Have ever been killed

Their whole lives reduced to a moan


All over Palestine

Everywhere I go, I see

The walls

In the forms of broken trunks

In the homes that are falling apart

And in the sprawling heaps of bricks and stones

After the rains of bombs and missiles…


My feet suddenly grow cold

I don’t dare to take another step

Afraid that the stones afoot will moan again:

Please tread with care!

Just yesterday

We were still Humans…


River Jordan draining into the Dead Sea – Photo: Wikipedia


That is not the Sea. The humans full of sufferings

Yearning for Freedom, Happiness, Love

Had to escape from their human lives to become the Sea

Crossing the desert of anguish to a way to the Ocean…


But even the Sea can’t escape. The Sea has become the Dead Sea.

There is no peace even in death. They are imprisoned still.

One of the knotted strips in the sky is of blood and tears

So bitterly salty. So nothing can sink here


The Sea still glistens with a crying eye

As though it’s trying to say something to the human race

But where are the humans? Heaven is profound

In having the trees along the shore struggle inconsolably…


I’ve crossed halfway across the world

Coming to the Sea but not reaching the Sea


So we pass through the barbed wire to look at each other…

(*The inscription on the prohibitive sign hung along the barbed wire)



What does this place have?

How does the mountain become a Temptation?

A barren rocky area

Without a branch of a tree, the top of a grass


The sky is clear. The wind is cool

Why won’t the green grass grow?

I’ve just learned that this land is hostile

Not only because of Nature…


How many Mountains of Temptation

Await us everywhere

And the most dangerous mountain of temptation

Is erected in people’s hearts!


All humans across lifetimes come here

To witness an empty mountain slope

Suddenly like Jesus’ shadow

Slowly stepping into the white clouds….



To the Palestinian Prime Minister


In two remote areas

Of the same Earth

We are all proudly

Standing upright in the Sun

Although our peoples still suffer

Having suffered for thousands of years

We cannot be hunted

Because we are Humans!

Those that shoot at you

Shoot me in the heart…

(Palestine 6-2023)


(Translated by Ngo Binh Anh Khoa)




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