Poet Van Cong
The 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
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
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.
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.
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
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.