We promise one another /
poems from an Asian war / Don Luce introduced ....
C h i l d o f M ỹ L a i
a poem by Lê Dân *
Dear Mỹ Lai , my heart aches / With the cry of my young brother /
Dying beside the corpse of his mother and grand mother , /
Among the sound of guns / And barbarous sound laughter ..
Ricefields raise our children ,
Why kill them , our people ,
In so many places , so many times ?
Why add hatred and violence ?
Is it to achieve your rule
Upon this country
Of red blood and yellow skin ?
Look at the heap of flesh and bones !
From thousands of years of struggle ,
Each pricelss person
Belongs to Việtnam .
My young brother is like a bud
Just growing on the tree of our nation ,
The root , his father , he has never met ;
The sap , his mother , he has never known ,
And so it is with millions of brothers and sisters .
They have killed him, the bud of our tree ;
They have killed his mother ,
Killed his source of milk ,
Yet can they kill four thousand years of tradition ?
Can they kill his father
Who carries the gun against the invaders ?
And can they kill the hatred
Within him as he dies ?
His farewell is not his last word
For his brothers will be born and grow up ,
Like the warriors of Phù Đổng ,
To repay the nation
Which has raised them ,
The nation standing like a centennial tree ,
And on its branches like the green buds
They will grow up ,
Millions of hands to end this war
And drive from our country
These killers who cannot hide themselves .
Humanity will judge them .
Mỹ Lai , I ache every second ,
I cannot wait for an hour ,
Or for the evening to pass ,
I must act now
To save old mothers
And young children .
* a stage manager of Republic of Việtnam .
( from WE PROMISE ONE ANOTHER - poems from an Asian war /
selected, translated by DON LUCE , JOHN C. SCHAFER &
JACQUELYN CHAGNON - Published by the Indochina Mobile
Education Project - Washington, D.C, 1971 - p.: 41 - 42 )