Th? song ng? Nguy?n ??c Tùng

English version by the author


1. LNG QU                         


Khi anh tr? v?

Ng??i v? ? ch?t


V?t mu kh trn ng?c

Trong b?i tre c rc lin h?i


Ti?ng th? nh?t: anh khng nghe

Ti?ng th? hai: anh d?ng l?i

Ti?ng th? ba: anh l? m? nh?n ra


Anh ??t thang thu?c b?c ln th?m nh

Ci ??u, li l?i


R?i nh? so

R?i b?n.




When he returns home

His wife has died


Dried blood on her chest

In the bamboo bush owls constantly coo


First sound: he does not hear

Second sound: he stops in his steps

Third sound: he dimly recognizes


He leaves the tonic herbal medicine on the porch

Bow his head, steps back


Then pulls the pole

Leaves the pier.


2. M?C ?CH C?A O QU?N


M?c ?ch c?a o qu?n

Khng ph?i ?? m?c

M ?? th? r?i xu?ng

Ngy em ??n tm anh


M?c ?ch c?a kh?n tay

Khng ph?i ?? lau n??c m?t

M ?? chi th?t s?ch

Bia m? trong c? xanh




The purpose of clothes

Is not to wear them

But to let them drop

The day you come find me


The purpose of a handkerchief

Is not to wipe away your tears

But to carefully clean

A gravestone in green grass




Chng ti tr?ng nh?ng cy n?m gi?a lng ???ng

Vi th?t k? ?? khng ai bi?t


C hm m?t chi?c cng xa ?i qua

C hm m?t chi?c xe ? ?i qua


C hm m?t c?p trai gi ch? nhau trn xe Honda ?i qua

T?t c? ??u bay ln trong b?i m


Chng ti ci m?t bng h?ng trong b? n??c r?a chn

Tr??c th?m nh tn thn tr??ng


N?m gi? sng h?n v? nh r?a chn

Tr??c khi ln gi??ng v?i v?

Bay ln gi?a b?i m


Chng ti lm th? l ?? tr? th

Cho ??ng ??i chng ti

Tr?n tru?ng b? ko l trn m?t ??t n?ng l?a


T? ??u lng ??n cu?i lng

Nh?ng k? ch?m ph?i mn Claymore

Bay ln nh? b?i m trn hng ro thp gai


By gi? v? gi ti h?i b? lng tai




We planted mushrooms in the middle of the road

Buried it so that no one knows


One day a government car passed by

One day a long-distance bus passed by


One day a couple of boy and girl passed by on Honda scooters

They all flew up in the dust


We put a rose in the foot washbasin

In front of the village chief’s house


At five in the morning he came home and washed his feet

Before going to bed with his wife

He flew up in the dust


We did it for revenge

For our communist comrades

Naked and dragged on the hot burning ground


From the entrance of the village to the end of the village

Those who have hit Claymore mines

Soared up like dust above the barbed wire


Now I am old, a little hard of hearing, thats why




M??i b?n n?m sau ngy cha ti m?t

Ti tr? v? n?m trn chi?c gi??ng c??i c?a ng

??c cu?n Ki?u ?? m?


N?a ?m th?c d?y ng?i ?nh c? m?t mnh

Bu?i sng c?o ru b?ng dao c?o c?a cha ti


M??i b?n n?m sau ngy cha ti m?t

Ti v? b?c m? ng

C?m n?m ??t trn tay

Gi th?i

M?t chi?c x??ng c m?ng


Bu?i chi?u ti mang ?i ?ng c?a cha ti

?i th?m cnh ??ng n??c l?n

??ng tr??c hin nh

Ch?t nh? v? ??a con trai ? ?i xa




Fourteen years after my father’s death

I return to lie on his wedding bed

Reading the Kieus book opened


I wake up in the middle of the night to play chess alone

In the morning I shave with my father’s razor


Fourteen years after my father’s death

I go to exhume the remains

Holding the earth in one hand

The wind blows

A thin fish bone


In the evening wearing my father’s boots

To visit the high water field

Standing on the front porch

I suddenly remember a son once gone away


5. CHA

G?i Ch? Lan Vin


Anh l?t tri l sen h?

Th?y ?? m?y ch?

Ln cha


V?y l anh ln cha

Th?m Ph?t


Cha v?ng ng?t

H??ng la trn mnh mng

Lng vo ma g?t

Ch ti?u c?ng ra ??ng


Ngoi sn

D?m ?a h?ng m?i n?

H?i th?m

S? c? ? v? qu l?y v?


Anh ng?n ng? nhn ra ng

Hng tre gi th?i lao xao

M?t con chim ? ?u

Bay v? gy


Cc cu cc cu cc cu cc cu



For Ch? Lan Vin


He turns over the lotus leaf

And sees a couple words

Go to the pagoda


So he goes to the pagoda

To visit Buddha


The pagoda was deserted

The scent of rice was immense

It was harvest time for the village

Young novice monks also went to the fields


In the front yard

A few newly roses just bloomed

He asks about

The abbot monk already returned to his hometown to get married


He looks blankly out at the gateway

Rows of bamboo rustle to the blowing wind 

A lone bird from somewhere

Flies back to tweet


Cuckoo cuckoo cuckoo cuckoo




Ti?ng c rc sn cha

Th?ng b?n ti g c?a b?ng chn ph?i

C?a m?

Ti l?p t?c xng vo

Dng g?y qu?t ti b?i


M?t nh s? tr? tu?i ?ang ch?p tay

Ni?m Ph?t tr??c bn th?

?? gi? d?i tn

Ph?n b?i

Ti ht ln

Cho ?? s?


Th?ng b?n ti ? vo nh??ng chn

Lm h?n ng ng?a

Ti ko ra gi?a sn

H?n co ng??i l?i v ?au

Ti ??y l?t nho

L?n ?i m?y vng

Xu?ng h?

Ci ??u tr?c l?c

L?n theo

Mu r? ra


Ti tr? v? nh

Sai v? l?y kh?n n??c nng

Lau m?t, chi s?ch

R?i ngm mnh trong b?n t?m su?t ngy


Ti ng?i im nhn b?n b?c t??ng

Tr?ng tot th?t lu

M?t con mu?i ??u ln t??ng

Chn cn dnh mu


Ti th?n th? su?t ?m

L?ng tai nghe pha ni

N?u ti?ng c rc thm l?n n?a

Ti s? m?c o c sa v ra ?i




The sound of owls hooting in the pagoda yard

My friend knocks on the door with his right foot

The door opens

I immediately rush in

And repeatedly beat around with a cane


There a young monk with clasped hands

Was chanting Buddha’s name in front of the altar

You fraud

You traitor

I shout

To be less afraid


My friend kicks him in the leg

Causing him to fall backwards

I pull him out into the yard

He cringes over in pain

I push and hurl him over

Rolling around a few times

Down into a pit

His bald head

Rolls along

Blood oozing out


I come back home

Order my wife to get a hot towel

To wipe my face and clean it

I then soak in the bathtub all day


I sit still staring at the four walls

Pale white for a long time

A mosquito lands on the wall

Blood still on its legs


I stay listless all night

Closely listening to the mountain side

If I hear the sound of owls hooting one more time

I will put on my kasaya robe and leave




N?u em mu?n, th anh c?ng mu?n

Chia cho anh m?t n?a ??i em

M?t v??n nhi?u s??ng xu?ng

M?t vai xanh l ?m


M?t ngy nh? cc o

Lng anh th ? ra ging

M tnh cn l?m t?m

Hoa c?i vng g?i n?ng


Anh cn g?i tn em

Ngy ch?a ?i h?t ma

?m cn g?p khun m?t l?

Sng ra trong tay v nhu chi?c l


Th?m anh tm b?c t?n ng?n

Chia cho anh n?a ??i kh kh?n

Chia cho anh n?a ??i nh?m l?n

Hoa ci mnh ??i gi


??t ci mnh ch? em

Em v?n vng la m?i

G?t mi ch?a xong tnh ??u

Cnh di?u gieo m?m g?c r?


Dng d?ng ???ng xanh l du

Chia cho anh lng nhau

M?t lng cn n?c n?

M?t lng nh? v s?


Lng my n??c trong veo

N?ng ? vng tri b??i

L?u ? ?? ngoi t??ng

Lu?ng cy l?p nghing chuy?n c?


Chia cho anh cnh ??ng

Chia cho anh b?y ong

Chia cho anh m?t ??i im nh? ni

Chia cho anh chi?u thu c c?ng nh? khng


N?u em t?i, th anh c?ng t?i

Chng ta t?i ?y trong ngy t?n th?

Anh s? tr?ng m?t ci cy

Trong chi?c giy c?a anh ?y


Sen v?n cu?ng sen h?ng

Ng?c v?n l ng?c nh?

Anh ??t tnh yu ln chi?c l

Th? em tri theo dng sng




If you want, then I want it too

Share with me half of your life

A garden full of dew

A midnight green shoulder


A day like a button

My heart has already edged forward

But our love is still glistening

Canola flowers call to the sun


I still call your name

Days unpassed, seasons unfinished

At night I still see an unfamiliar face

In the morning a crumpled leaf in my hand


My veranda is eight steps shy

Share with me half of your difficult life

Share with me half a life of confusion

I wait for the wind as flowers bow down


I wait for you as the land crouches down

You are still the golden new rice

No matter the harvests, first love never ends

Kites sow softly stubbles are sown


Use the road of green mulberry leaves

Share with me your heart

A heart still sobbing

A heart unscathed


Eyebrows and clear water

The sun has turned grapefruits yellow

Pomegranates have reddened on the outside of the wall

The furrow covers up old stories


Share with me the rice fields

Share with me the bees

Share with me a quiet life like that of a mountain

Share with me an autumn evening whether it is or is not


If you come, I will come too

We have come here on this doomsday

I will plant one tree

In this very shoe I wear


Lotus flowers still have pink lotus stems

A small heart is still nevertheless a heart

I put my love on this leaf

And let you float along the river





Cc nh v?n Vi?t Nam c g ?? ni khng, Camier ni,

N?u khng c g th h? khng c?n ni


H? c nhi?u ?i?u ?? ni ??y, Mercier ni

Th? sao h? khng ni, Camier h?i


H? khng th? ni ???c, Mercier tr? l?i


N?u h? khng th? ni ???c, Camier ni,

Th hy ?? h? im l?ng.




Do Vietnamese writers have anything to say, Camier said,

If there is nothing then they need not say anything


They do have a lot to say, Mercier said

So why dont they talk, Camier asked


They cannot speak, Mercier replied


If they cannot speak, Camier said,

Then let them be silent.


N. ?. T

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