“Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon” by Đinh Trường Chinh

By Thanh Tâm Tuyền, translation by Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm (Author´s blog)



As needed as the dawn your presence

(to live without the dawn)

I would wake up

reading Nguyễn Du

the sadness brimming in each rhythmic verse of six by eight beat at the end of the road upon dusk

the verses I wanted to send you

urgently but couldn’t

(em)you’re a captive in a world

where sadness in one’s heart is a mortal sin

I tried my best to write the unbidden verses

like a rendezvous 

like the plain sky outside my window

mumbling to myself

in a dream wrapped in shiny black hair

I know I’m mumbling 

CONSTANTLY(to myself)



I miss you as much as I miss town

the streets once in passing

the deserted courtyards on the way to your house

(the time I was home on the long benches

beneath the autumn leaves and clouds in quiet afternoons)

the street food the markets the frequent part of town

uncomplicated like a page in my dairy

the day I fell for you



The heavenly white arms in short sleeves

the small books passing from one hand to the other

the words written for those in the days to come

works of darkness demanding light

me cosseting the books on revolutions

spoke of those with liberal hearts, the free spirits

spoke about you and me

altogether openly



Your absence and the beach in winter

the radiating pain from every street lamp 

in each step each closed door

you’re down the street without a hat or coat

it poured

in the dark eager were the windows for a peek

the ensuing chaos

and your eyes the Sun the blooming meadows by my loving lips

the resplendent love 



The curvatures of red lips of eyes by chance

fragile blooming breast

the air upon such domains

a love that is never shy

not the kind of rain by the gate into the city

the five old citadel gates resurrected upon the corpses of five prison gates

the rain and sunshine from Hội vũ to Sinh 

the untold romantic walks courtyards stations and stalls

the first kiss in arms full of roaming hair

the childish scents on hands on sleeves

the awakening of the sunset

going home dragging each lead laden footstep 

your absence can not be longer than that

the resentment in each breath

upon each yielding kiss the ceasing cat cry in the night

the miracle of love

forever whole



Allow me a blade of your hair the purple kiss

the sudden darken afternoon sky in your eyes

drifting in passing intimate words


perhaps you will be dead by the time I’m back

the cold season within the old four walls

someone had forgot to close the door

lashes lowered in shadows from outside

perhaps I will love a second woman

I can’t deny

but forever in the past you will be preserved

the roots of affinity 

as the bricks the old pavements

yearn still for your soft loving heels

love comes upon the afternoon my sweet

more right than the dawn lighting up my spirit

then why are you sleeping

asleep in the tomb of my heart the burial ground upon my body

and the grass sewn into my flesh

I’ve come to say goodbye by my fingers through your hair

by the teary drops of shimmering dew

I promise to return not to face an enemy

the sound of crashing waves is what’s left of the river

explodes through the rib cage shall be joy and laughter

the city standing tall as a sign

that I shall return

that I shall still have my love

amongst the trees a sleeping beauty void of 



(September 2021)


3 Comentarios Agrega el tuyo

  1. So Lovely, thank you so much !

    Le gusta a 2 personas

    1. I’m so happy his poetry have reached you. Thank you for appreciating it. Kindest of regards, Tram, Sydney, Australia.

      Le gusta a 2 personas

  2. Thank you for your lovely poem, greetings and best wishes from Romania !

    Le gusta a 1 persona


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