PoetryWorld Literature

The Love of 1972 – Poetry from the Land of Blue Dragon

Nguyen Trac, an acclaimed poet from Vietnam, shares his five poems.

 Unarmed and unafraid

Houses went roofless because of bombs

We had fallen in love before departure for battle

Nguyen Trac

Nguyen Trac, born in 1946 in Hanoi, writes poems, prose, critiques of literary works. He is a member of Vietnam Writers’ Association since 1991. He was Editor-in-Chief of Writers’ Magazine, from 2005 to 2011 and Deputy Chief of Thematic Literature department of Vietnamese Writers’ Association. He Joined the Kuala Lumpur World Poetry Readings in October 2002, Malaysia.



The love of 1972 (*)

Unarmed and unafraid

Houses went roofless because of bombs

We had fallen in love before departure for battle


Smoke darkened on the walls

Purity twenties

In the middle of twenties and Tomorrow is the season that trees would change the leaves

Hanoi was stunned after the rains


You may not believe but we were filled with happiness then

In the mission of Human since the wild times

War no longer exists

Withdrew and leave it for the gentle cuddle…

(* December 1972, US Air Force commanded B 52 flying fortresses to bomb Hanoi)



We carry time on our hands

Store it on the watch

And step out to the world


Earth that been through many ages

Sometimes longing the old days in a sudden

Roll into the old pages

We travel back in a dream


Holding the Perpetual Calendar     

Looking for good days, bad days

We look for a needle in a haystack

Leisurely in eternal earth and sky


We carry time

Like camels carrying hump on their back

Travel through the universe’s black hole –

A shut star


Imagine we could reach the Future

We carry time

By the breakable hands

Heavy of dreams

In a glimpse of a lifetime!


Wind is still on-road

There the sound of bamboo broom softly sweeping on the road

Soft so as not to wake those who arrived home from work late last night

But enough to wake the leaves

Wake the sun, the wind tip, the bird sounds


The poor woman

Once a week

Comes to clean the lane


The lane has accustomed to her broom

For she has known the personalities of the brides here

Who is happy, who is sad

Who is “addicted” to shopping!


She is the active inside the silence

The ripe next to the green

The brushstroke of silent humble in a competitive world


There the sound of bamboo-stick knocking on the road

Void as the sound of bamboo tocsin

A veteran whose one eye wounded

Once again starts a new day making his living         


He does not know all the names of the kids that born here-

Those who always accelerate every time he is nearby and yield on the road-

But he knows his grandparents’ name

And remembers who was in Truong Son


He is the silence inside the active

Yesterday inside today

The sacred hidden and covered among the daily


All the calm but chock-full morning

All the trembling noon

There still the sound of bamboo broom sweeping on the road

The bamboo-stick knocking on the road

And I hear that wind is still on-road

Blowing into nowhere…


Early rising woman

Each morning

The woman rises before dawn

Runs with brisk winds


Beside her is the night of grass

The precious Luna, gem of sky

At Her back the city

And just her, fresh spring


She runs around the park

Such enthusiasm

Through the stinks of animals

And perfumes of roses


With lithe legs

She flies through dry earth and stones

By her side newly bloomed flowers

By her side bell tolls in the thousand year-old pagoda


She runs steadfastly and breaths

Bringing in the blue sky into her chest

Whole essence of first light, of wind

And chiming of birdsongs upon branches…


Beside Trà Kiệu dancers’s figures

Impossible that it is real

That curve of the woman’s hands


And those legs

And body the shape of fire

Nebulous to illusive naiveté…


But unreal

How are you living?

Amidst goods and evils of being

Amidst history’s cinders

Volatilities of sorrow and joy


The Tenth century had been far gone (*)

The Twentieth century is becoming relic

Yet wonders ones after others

You stills, the wondrous constant


You live like it had been for thousands years past

Hands not of mortal’s

In bursts of nirvana

Still joined with humanity!

(*The height of Chàm civilization when The Dancers’ Pedestal of Trà Kiệu was conceived)

The Chàm civilization lasted from the 2nd century A.D to the 17th century. Remnants of the civilization can be found today in Central Vietnam, along the coastline with various temple sites.


Translated into English by Vo Hoang Long and Ngo Gia Thien An

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