Thursday, June 30, 2016

I am returning ( Ta về) — by Tô Thùy Yên

                                                * *

First four stanzas in the long 31-stanzas poem “ I am returning” of Tô Thùy Yên, a very well-known, illustrious, creative poet of South Vietnam before 1975, who often laboriously works on his poems.

This long poem was written by the poet when he was released after 10 years in Vietcong’s prison camp, which they called “concentration and reeducation” camp. Mr. Yên was also a major in South Vietnam’s army. He attempted to cut his vein to kill himself to protest the prison’s incredibly debasing and harsh treatment, but his prison friends saved him.

I am returning home,
      shadow looming on the wide exile road
No poem on flap waiting (*)
The hurt grinds
            and grinds
The stones bit shut
                     ten years

Goodbye my ten-years buried existence
In the forever silent jungle
Ten years—
            ape’s life
Darkened face
        stared in the stream
              to find
                      its own

I’m returning
    through forest paths, river straits
Autumn breeze dances touching
                          the forehead’s wrinkles
Dazedly stand I, absorbing, discerning
The years’ dust, remnant

That’s all. That’s all.
Heaven silent; Earth shut
Life closes its veins,
                grime green and pale
Ten years—
          world has grown so old
earth fades
                      and fades
(translated by CH)

Ta về một bóng trên đường lớn 
Thơ chẳng ai đề vạt áo phai 
Sao bỗng nghe đau mềm phế phủ 
Mười năm đá cũng ngậm ngùi thay 

Vĩnh biệt ta-mười-năm chết dấp 
Chốn rừng thiêng im tiếng nghìn thu 
Mười năm mặt sạm soi khe nước 
Ta hóa thân thành vượn cổ sơ

Ta về qua những truông cùng phá 
Nếp trán nhăn đùa ngọn gió may 
Ta ngẩn ngơ trông trời đất cũ 
Nghe tàn cát bụi tháng năm bay 

Chỉ có thế. Trời câm đất nín 
Đời im lìm đóng váng xanh xao 
Mười năm, thế giới già trông thấy 
Đất bạc màu đi, đất bạc màu


(*) Poets of the old centuries in Vietnam,and occasionally very close friends, or lovers, when departing after meeting, if they respected, adored the other too much, they suddenly wanted to write some short verses on the flap of the other’s long dress.

No comments:

Post a Comment