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The Soul Flew Away – Poetry from Vietnam

The Soul Flew Away – Poetry from Vietnam
The Red River Delta North Vietnam

Buds are shooting up dividing walls, as arteries of streams clear and circulate

Văn Phấn, an eminent award-winning poet from Vietnam, the Land of Blue Dragon, shares his poems ‘The Soul Flew Away’ and ‘Wind Crest’.

Mai Van Phan Vietnam - Sindh CourierVietnamese poet Mai Văn Phấn was born in 1955 in Ninh Bình, Red River Delta North Vietnam. Currently, he is living and writing poems in Hải Phòng city. He has published 16 poetry books and 1 book “Critiques – Essays” in Vietnam. Many of his books are published and released in foreign countries and on Amazon’s book distribution network. Poems of Mai Văn Phấn are translated into more than 40 languages. He has won a number of Vietnamese and international literary awards, including The Vietnam Writers’ Association Award in 2010; The Cikada Literary Prize of Sweden in 2017; The Award of Newspaper Kitob Dunyosi (Uzbekistan) in 2021.

Red River


A spider’s hammock being torn by the lifting fog

Returns freedom to the soft tongues of grass

The drifting clouds rub out

A horizon that has just buried darkness

Blood resurrected within the ground

Turns into young sap welling up at each falling leaf

While long-suffering shadows remain silent

The thrush bursts out a firework of calls

Buds are shooting up dividing walls

As arteries of streams clear and circulate

Tongues made of glass break into voices

To discuss each discolored photo

The words in a notebook having dreamed of fire

Just before they become ashes, suddenly come to

When moving out, one has tossed the incense sticks’ leftovers into the river

So one wonders why fragrant smoke still lingers…

(Translated from Vietnamese by Nhat-Lang Le. Edited by Susan Blanshard)


ninhbinh1-1685003816821784468471WIND CREST


Crawling on sharp tops of the rock

Body of wind scratches

Blood of wind is rain

Sunshine drips down

Mountains roll the kiss up high

Gray clouds cast into black

Mountains open wide their arms, trampling feet into ground

Crushing into fragments

Tears the body of wind into pieces

The starlight falling

Morning bursting out

Up to the top of slope in a flash

Open eyes look down

The kisses heaped higher

The frenzied wind rolls up on another crest.


Finding your mouth to sow

Wind clinging to tender limbs of land

Plunge down to the abyss

Rot the bowels of hills and mountains

Chest of wind drifting

Playing on the ground

The shell cracked flash

Spring overflows the grain mouth

Waiting to sprout the cotyledons

Wind will carry the ground away.


Shut tight the door the more wind blows

Things suddenly remembered, tighten in my chest

The eye of wind swept me into you

Turning quickly round and round

Swiftly passing a bridge

My body was bent by the wind

Hung like a wet towel across the railing

Dripping down into a swift-flowing river.

Remembering how the train cuts through a body of wind

Columns of smoke overturn and siren sounds disappear in an instant

My breath is constrained through the trumpet-reed

The pressure like an eagle wings spreading wide

Raising fragile dragonfly wings

Cavalier on the wind’s crest

Outside the vault of leaf disorder

Torn to satisfy the frenzied excitement

This inhibition of lust.

(Translated from Vietnamese by Trần Nghi Hoàng. Edited by Frederick Turner)


Read: Love songs from the land of Longans – Poetry from Vietnam



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