PoetryWorld Literature

Spring on the mountain – Poetry from Vietnam

Poems of Van Cong, late poet from the land of Blue Dragon, translated and shared by JyKhanh

Poet Van Cong

Poet Van Cong - Vietnam- Sindh CourierThe Vietnamese Poet Van Cong was born in 1926 passed away in 2021. He published 7 books of poetry and essays. He won 2 national literary award. He used to be the executive chairman of Phu Khanh province and member of Vietnam Writers’ Association.

Translated into English by JyKhanh

Spring on the mountain

Spring on the top of the mountain

The storm was over and the trees were blooming

The compatriots still worried about things

Done reaping for the time to change the farming season

Overnight in Tho Lo, Ma Du

The place where I practiced and get used to the bulb of banana-tree and bamboo shoots

The back of the skin was scratched by dug in the fields at noon

A bowl of cassava rice, mother raised children day by day

Craved pages of a book without lights to read

But the verse on the cliff still there

Floating and sinking echoed forever today

 

Ten years back to this place

Strange unexpected change

Uncle Ho’s salt seeds brought fresh color to the leaves

Green land of hope, my dear

Looked at each shinning face

Sparkling eyes and different smile

Flexible feet to walked without feeling tired

Without breakfast, my stomach was still full

 

The sound of the piano echoed on the mountainside

Warm kitchen, empty road, sparkling school roof

Little bird was born and flew

Chirping around bloomed rice

Birds with people opened a congratulatory conference

Around the alcohol jar we welcomed the New Year

All gender, young and old, the village gathered

The floor was full of love

The torch flickered in harmony with the gong dance

It sounded like revolting sacred air

 

Thought it was a battle of the Ba Na people at that time

Against the king and mandarin, withdraw the Western spear

Thought the Dong Khoi movement before

Against America and raised the flag of liberation

Each breath gradually changed life

In the middle of a fragrant spring garden

Uncle Ho’s salt seeds were full of love

 

My dear Tho Lo, Phu Mo

Looked at each shining face

Back and forth hundreds of different smiles

***

Named our Children

In a few days left, I was going to cross the frontline

Exercised gradually to strengthen the knees and tendons

Felt undecided

Met the first child and sang loudly

The sound of the birth overpowered the enemy bombs and bullets

No bombs and bullets could scare me!

 

Father went for a life

Forty-five years old, grey hair full on both sides of head

Forty-five years old, he had his first daughter        

In the late afternoon, he learned how to be a father

You asked me why was I so late

It was easy to understand – Seven years of fighting

Twenty-seven years old of unfulfilled vows

Didn’t have time to sit down and think about my own life matters

Deep memories now I had a princess

I was very happy! What more could I ask for?

Many comrades were still single

Never had a good meal.

 

Quickly named the baby

Hien Luong was the most beautiful name

The name of the bridge connected the love between the South and the North

Like a silk sheet that didn’t let the mirror freeze

Like a tall flagpole under the sun

In the storm, the heart was full of courage

 

My child grew up to understand that meaningful name

All my life, I had saved for you

Did what to repay the gratitude

Of uncles and aunts in two parts of the country

In hardship for you to went forward          

Remembered, when you ate a fruit, always be grateful to the grower

 

My child, remembered this word

Father never hesitated because I loved you

Father never afraid of the death because I loved you

Looked for a peaceful place and unburden someone?

 

On the banks of Ben Hai

Wave’s turbulence long night

Looked at my hometown, the broken surface of the land

Father was ready to go there

To told grandma that my child was very good!

 

My child had bright eyes

Even though she couldn’t speak, her smile was so beautiful

Raised her hand as if a goodbye waved

Goodbye father went back to the South.

***

Love song of the hometown

(Gifted to Phu Yen on the day of separation from the province)

I came back here under the pink sun

Da Rang River was so clear and blue

Chop Chai was so wide and full of wind

Nhan Tower wrote the verse in the electric light

 

Flowers were all around the house

Happy season, phoenix flowers bloomed with sweet lyrics

If you loved flowers, then don’t let the bathtub of flowers get cold

Poisonous weeds were difficult to pull out.

 

In the sown field

The green carpet of rice smell was covered all the back of the pass

In the distance, someone tilted the brim of the hat

Let people’s eyes quietly followed

 

Two sides of the street were under construction

Cheerful music everyday

Underground artery accumulated vitality

Soil sprouted, flying butterflies

 

Absorbed the love of the homeland, rice grain of the season

The ups and downs of life, bitter and sour

Love my mother’s hand, calluses of the dew and wind

Had no time to think of win or lose.

 

You didn’t have to hesitate anymore!

Beautiful love song of the hometown

Even though the reunion was not predetermined

The human heart was not easily divided.

***

Sing out loud!

Sing out loud!

Sang beautiful songs

Sang and accompaniment for transition sounds

To let my soul blended in with your voice

 

Years passed

Our love remained

Happy fruit season

Blue sky, green rice fields

The streets enjoyed the fresh wind

Heard the earth breath, the sound of human’s feet.

Hey girls! Who are you waiting at the head of Van Kiep Bridge?

Are you go to Nhan Tower to watch the moon?

The young men seemed to be in love with Hang!

Elderly people were also fall in love to untie themselves

The oversea Vietnamese people returned to his hometown excitedly

Still assimilated with relatives sometimes

The roads, the shelters. The glittering mist.

The rays of the sun flowed in mother’s hair

Waited outside the school gate to see her child

Corn and cassava tree were fighting to take place

The swallows flew away then came back

Sadness and joy were difficult to demarcate the line

Clear or muddy stream couldn’t distinguish

But the earth was round in the direction it rotated

The vast ocean, the waves crashed day and night

Couldn’t drown out the song you were singing

 

Just sing, sing out loud!

To let my soul blended in with your voice

To let my soul flew away peacefully

Found inspiration in joyful faith

Was there anyone! Anyone waited!

Was there anyone remember! Anyone loved!

There was a bullet coated with sugar

Tasted very sweet, but very bitter when swallowed

The distance couldn’t count by months and years

Planters must knew how to choose the right seeds

Despite the sweet rain or sunshine

The flowers were still bloom and the rose buds were still red.

***

Visited Truong Sa Island

Visited Truong Sa Island

Our home islands

One after another like a herd of elephants went to war

Very gentle but sometimes got angry

To those who didn’t let elephants rest

Stood in the middle of the front islands

Soldiers day and night stayed at the sea

Bright eyes, gun raised high

Sang a song that protect the earth and sky

Golden sand with fallen stars

Swallows called spring to build a nest

Coral dunes soaked in the wind and waves

Picked up the boat that carried love

Each roll of medicinal herbs, boxes of meat, and kilograms of sugar

Each bag of rice, each page of a new book

There was a letter from a lover

I waited for you with all my faith

Although not yet in Nam Yet, Phan Vinh

Felt so sorry for Thai Binh, Son Ca, everything was all gone

Visited Truong Sa district

My beloved country

Soldiers beard the heavy wind and dew    

The skin burnt of the sun, got wet of the heavy rain

Endured much through oceanic climate

Felt full and hunger with meager meals

The rubber sandal could not protect their heels from broken seashells

The long drought season, remembered the pot of hot vegetable soup

In sweet cold we shared the fire

Through the four season of spring, summer, autumn and winter

Attached life with the storm ahead

Attached life with vows and wishes

For today and tomorrow

Did not confuse between right and wrong

Was because of my love of soul so beautiful

What happiness didn’t have a drop of sweat?

What island didn’t have blood on it?

Truong Sa soldiers

Sustainable like a maple tree

Stood still in the middle of the sky and ocean.

***

Vietnam-MountainsSwallow wings

Swallow wings came, spring bloomed

The first cool rain was born

The sound of birds was so sweet that melted the sky

The moon shined brightly.

 

Spring had come in the branches

The buds changed to brand new shape

Early scent kissed onto warm lips

The land moved to grow trees more green and healthy

 

Spring came to life forever

A year, four seasons, just one spring

Been through many hard times to orientate

Had to move so I could hear the feet clearly.

 

Even though it could suddenly bring tears

Lurked in the dark sow crazy lust

Did not be delusional to let your soul drop out

Every plot was a lie.

 

There had been stormy days

On Christmas Eve, bombs hit the village

Understood what the value of life was

Then went away like a shooting star.

Admiration walked to the bright dawn

Drop by drop fell in the voice of laughter

Like a sound echoed from a cliff

Looked back at my breast paved in my twenties.

***

Remember the forest

Remembered the forest, went to the high mountain to ask

How many regions were left in the Great Primordial?

The light was hidden in the valley

Swallow wings fluttered in dreams

The origin of the lonely cliff

Lullabied the stream in the night

When would you come back, who knew?

Like in the past, I hoped someday

How many of passionate promises

There were many of heartbreaking memories

Tried to find peaceful places

But the result was going the detour of numbness

Remembered why winter came back for the wood stove

The sound of the pestle pounded the mortar, the sacred summer festival

Although there was still a little love

My man, played with drums and gongs for what?

Spring was come, and spring gone away

Since when was the blue head and white hair?

My heart was burning with excitement

It was still embarrassing when visit and sit together

Only a few sentences left

Poetry became a bright moon, sadness and pain faded away.

***

Vietnam-Mekong-Delta-1-1024x792Homeland

Homeland was bamboo ramparts

The hammock swung creaking at noon in summer

The sound of loud voice pounding rice echoed around the neighborhood

Buffalos lay and chewed straw with ears up to listen.

 

Homeland was fire stove

Fire transmitted warmth to winter nights

The fire rekindled the fun story of young and old

The fire heated loyal hearts

 

Homeland was a boat

Over many generations of pain compression

Burned each brick to build the foundation

Didn’t regret my strength, blood and bones.

 

Homeland was a boat

Fought against the heavy ocean

Stood at the boat head, holding the paddle high

Arrived in glory to welcome my dear friend.

 

Homeland was a flower garden

Sweetness from the seed sown

Space mixed with time

Indelible fragrance.

 

Homeland was a song

Evoked the traditions of our ancestors

Four thousand years still not stopping

How many ups and downs of myself.

 

My homeland was taking off

Flew in the middle of spring and crossed miles

The fields were fluttering in the wind

The factory woke up in the morning sun.

 

My homeland had changed

Grew every minute, grew every second

How could I forget the day of youth?

Blood mixed with black mud seeped into the furrow.

__________________

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