Chủ Nhật, 26 tháng 2, 2012


Asian Morning Western Music /
poems by The  Phong .
This Edition , Jan. 2012 - HCM City

                                         J O H N    F I T Z G E R A L D   K E N N E D Y
                                                        a poem by   THE PHONG
                                           translated from the vietnamese  by  ĐÀM XUÂN CẬN  

 IN  a whole  sad evening
I wander
                casting a glance  at the sea
                        and the horizon
counting every quarter  of an hour
                 while the sun appears and dissappears
                        on the wawes

my secret sadness
               refuses to go
I wonder whether there is any meaning for life
in the wood Our Lady with innumerable pebbles
in this place I find no solace at all
the sea today is sad like me
furious wawes do not cease rolling
and breaking on lonely rocks
and rocks seem to be  shattered to pieces of russet color
thousands of years ago
               at the beginning of the universe
problably this hill was part of the sea ,
               with  billows roaring
after so long a time
              now a lone man
              I walk slowly ,  sadly
up and down this place
visit friends and inanimate things ;
              and then depart once more ...

Sitting in the evening shop waiting to be served
looking at nude pictures on the wall
and hearing Western music
suddenly I realize
            Christmas is coming soon
             in this war-ravaged land
the hostess
             after collecting money
             leaves the counter
goes into the kitchen
            to prepare roast fish
yestarday the duty cook
            went to the training camp
women replace men in all matters
            exept for  being husbands
I begin to weep
            over my lonely state
o my love
            are you happy away from me
           for dinner
           I will eat more
thinking of your beautiful hands and body
I ' ll smile in tears
           in the future of civil we all have burning pains
let us turn away
          not to  see the obscene scene
 a naked GI
          shows his contempt for prostitutes
by going out of the bathroom
          without a dress on
a wife turns away ,  looks at her husband and waits
                                                      for him  to react
head bowed
           he goes on sipping his soft drink
aware that the blue-eyed soldier
thinks all Vietnamese women are keen on seeing naked bodies
in fact his beastly attitude should only shame
           compatriots of hero Abraham Lincoln
whose statue was carved on a great mountain
as for me I remember the photo of John F. Kennedy
            hero of the world with floating hair
                          assassinated not long ago
since the Vietnamese youths
            night after night ,
            looks at his picture hung over the bed
            feel  respect and love for him
            champion of New Frontier Policy
o the obscene jingle full of pretty things
only makes prostitutes laugh  
I will never forget the morning
             I came to the cage- like shop
surrounded by wires for fear of terrorist activities
there were four at the table
             three Americansand a Viet woman
they seemed to be gallant like Europeans
I sincerely thought so
until the little waiter brought a small plate full of cheese
he stuttered in front of an American ,
" she orders this
              why you shake your head ? "
not knowing what had happened !
the Viet prostitute went on laughing and talking
even after she admitted she had ordered this extra thing .
her lover still shook his head.

I felt sorry although characteristic of a leading nation in the world
the American woman has her own purse even after she is married
 this Vietnamese woman ,  the prostitute turned temporary
             and profitable wife
has no money and has begged for a breafast in vain

The memory of the GI opening the door             
             of the bathroom to let woman appraise his body aches me
for him Amarican simply means this miserable husband
               with gold-rimmed spectacles who
               walks in the direction of the GI
and speaks softly as if saying prayers
I at first take him to be a pimp
 but after the quarrel breaks out
I understand  the weeping woman in his legitimate wife
one afternoon
               she had left Saigon for the fresh sea air
but only to feel all the humiliation of her people

After the GI gets out to consult hids friends
              on how to right his grevious wrong
ha walks in
              the red cap on his head
losing his arrogance he says softly
" I am sorry
               I ' m  really sorry
               please accept my apologies "
the a firm  handshake with he husband
             as an acknowledgement of friendship
like the handsahke insignia printed on aid bags  ;
" I am sorry
            for thinking all Viet women are prostitutes
            and dollars could  buy everything ".

 Still another  story
           every time the interpreter goes on leave
he sees on the highway
a love-starved GI simply brandishing his dollar coin
           to find woman he could go ahead with
In my war-torn land
           every night
flares shines bright in every corner of the country
           deafening sounds of artillery disturb further
           uneasy sleeps of war-weary people
never have I found the image of any man more shinning than
                                                     John Fitzgerald  Kennedy  ' s
now his image
         fades out as bubbles ,
         on the immensity of water
         the wind in his hair
         he seems to  weep .

At the J.F. Kennedy Square in Saigon
         the man whose wife was mistaken as a prostitute
         of J. F. Kennedy 's nationality
cannot find back his bitter tears
 Christmas night
         stars  are shinning brightly
         on  the Saigon Basilica
evrything is shrouded in the fog of shame
                     war ...

Cap Saint Jacques , South Vietnam
21 st  , December , 1965 .


    First published by  DAI NAM VAN HIEN BOOKS , Saigon 1971 .
    This Edition , Jan. 2012 - Ho Chi Minh City  - p. : 30 -  36 ) .

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