words of a wheat field 

A poem in Vietnamese by Lê Vĩnh Tài
Translator: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm
Art: Đinh Trường Chinh

đi qua chiến tranh by Đinh Trường Chinh

words of a wheat field 

I am wheat
I cry, I am crying

once again 
they have left your death 
at my feet

oh why, why
would we cry for them?

once again once again
or more often than not?
they like you to die
make you into heroes or martyrs
they like to eat steamed rice from our wheat root
and leave us with the role of a fool
a starving dim-witted folk hero like Thằng Bờm 

they lie, they lie(through their teeth they lie)
from Stalingrad to Leningrad
a million people have died, many millions of our people have died
fields of wheat on fire
they’re burning, they’re burning the fields

and once more
they’ve abandoned our dead Ukraine 
and your corpse

oh, the shame of Putin
the blameless deception
in the wheat, in the wheat
and a harbour that will not freeze
in the coming winter

mother gave birth to me
a sickly child

beneath the sunlight, wheat fields of Ukraine
mother was too young
and father was a violent man
maybe too much vodka

mother guided me
across the fields of wheat
her long skirt wrapped around her feet
to a pond behind a camp
where father tried to drown her

a traveller happened upon her
fished her out

mother ran up the hill alone
spent her whole life cursing the hands
once tried to drown her
someone I should referred to as my father
someone who should have taken care of my mother

and to those hands mother was grateful
hands which had pulled her out from a frozen lake
one lovely sunny day

on the fields of Ukraine
mother's lungs are filled with life
the faith in my eyes never once diminishing
dear lord…
February 25, 2022

Lê Vĩnh Tài, the poet and translator born in 1966 in Buon Ma Thuot, Daklak, Vietnam. The retired doctor is still a resident of the Western Highlands and a businessman in Buon Ma Thuot.

Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm, the blogger, poet, and translator, was born in 1971 in Phu Nhuan, Saigon, Vietnam. The pharmacist currently lives and works in Western Sydney, Australia.

Un comentario sobre “words of a wheat field 

  1. Dear Trâm thank you so much for sharing this piece which is one that has brought tears to my eyes now twice. To spend all your spare time translating poets from your homeland after working all day is such a blessing to them as much as it is to us. I always enjoy the descriptive and honest words of this poet and the beauty of the artist as well. Because I don’t know how to write the names with double symbols, I hope you let them both know how much I love their work.

    A big congratulations to all three of you very talented artists.
    A poem in Vietnamese by Lê Vĩnh Tài
    Translator: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm
    Art: Đinh Trường Chinh

    Le gusta a 1 persona

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