Thứ Hai, 20 tháng 2, 2012


We  promise one  another  / poems from an Asian  war .
selected by DON LUCE and ....

                                                S  t  r  u  g  g  l  e
                                 I would rather be blind and keep my name pure
                                               than have a sight and feed on things impure 
                                                                      NGUYỄN ĐÌNH CHIỂU

                     ' Tranh  đấu '  ' struggle ' ,  is a word  often used  in Việtnam .  It is  found the  propaganda of both side .  People are encouraged to continue the struggle against the Communists , or against the Amerian imperalists and their lackeys .    It appears in the names of organisations which have sprung up in Saigon  which consist of people who are not Communists but are dertermined to struggle  against the  repressive Thiệu regime .  It is a common name for student magazines  and undergrounds  newspapers .   The anti government movement which erupted  in Huế in 1966 and which threatened to bring down the government of Nguyễn Cao Kỳ was called the ' Struggle Movement ' .
              Vietnamese are proud ot their history of struggle  -  against  the Chinese  ,  against the  French ,  and now against the intervention of the Americans .  When poets call on their readers to struggle ,  they are aware that they  involving a glorious history of opposing foreign domination .
              It is in poetry ,  not in propaganda ,  that the word appears to be used most honestly and powerfully .  In the following poems poets from the North and from the South urge their readers to struggle not for a political system ,  such as Communism or Democracy ,  but for justice ,  for their native village ,  for their country ,  for the sons  and daughters of  Lạc Hồng *  for humanity .  It is  for these things that the Vietnamese have proved they are willing to struggle and die .
             ( DON LUCE ' s note ).

* Lạc Hồng "  In Vietnamese mythology ,  Lạc Hồng is the eldest son of  Lạc Long ( Dragon Lord )  and a fairy  named 
Âu Cơ .  He was the founder of the first dynasty recognized in legend as truly Vietnamese .  Thus  , Lạc Hồng blood is the blood of those who are truly Vietnamese .

                                         I '  D   R A T H E R   S E E  B U T   D A R K N E S S 
                                                             By NGUYỄN ĐÌNH CHIỂU  

                      Nguyễn  Đình Chiểu   ( 1822 - 1888 ) is one of the best known  poets of the 19th century.  He contacted  an eye disease when he was  twenty-four and was soon completely blind .  But ,  this didn't deter him  from  opposing collaboration  with the French in his  poems and stories .  He opened a school in Bến Tre ,  where  he taught his students the importance of keeping Việtnam free at contamination by foreigners .

                                                   I ' d  rather  see  but darkness
                                                   Than traitors to their king and families ,
                                                   I ' d rather  see no living soul
                                                   Than the homeland amputated .
                                                   I 'd  rather see only the  night
                                                   Than the people drowned in miseries  ,
                                                   I 'd  rather suffer blindness and keep
                                                                            the family virtues intact ,
                                                   Than have sight and deny my ancestors ,
                                                   I ' d rather be blind and keep my name pure
                                                   Than have sight and feed on things impure ..

                                                    NGUYỄN ĐÌNH CHIỂUor  ĐỒ CHIỂU
                                        ( from    WE PROMISE ONE ANOTHER  - selected, translated by
                                                         DON LUCE ,  JOHN  C. SCHAFER  AND JACQUELYN CHAGNON -
                                                         pubished by   The Indochina Mobile Education  Project 
                                                                              Washington,   D.C,   1971   - p. 43 - 44 ) 

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