Thứ Ba, 1 tháng 8, 2017

Proud to be a Vietnamese / a poem by The Phong ( South Vietnam the baby in the Arms of the American Nurse / Dai Nam Van Hien Books, Saigon)

Thứ Sáu, 26 tháng 10, 2012

south vietnam the baby in the arms of the american nurse -poems by the phong - 1

 south vietnam,
 the baby in the arms of the american nurse-
poems by the phong, saigon 1970.

                                      south vietnam, the baby
                                      in the arms of the american nurse *
                                                       poems by  the phong 
                                                   translated by ĐÀM XUÂN CẬN  
                                      Nothing is harder to understand than women
                                                          Nothing is more cruel than war
                                                         Why on earth are there so many women and soldiers
                                                                                                   in this terrible war?
                                                         This nagging question keeps torturing me ...

                                                            " FROM THE DIARY OF 2LT  NGUYEN QUOC VAN
                                                                   9 TH AIRBORNE BATTALION, APO 4394  "

                                              Former 2 Lieutenant NGUYỄN QUỐC VĂN
                                                                         [1943- 1968 saigon]

        I express my gratitude to The Phong  for entrusting his poems to me for translation into English.  His encouragement and collaboration have been invaluable at every stage in the  production of the book.
        In this edition every care has been taken to avoid misprints and some minor corections in the text have been carried out.   
       I would be deeply grateful to all who care to point out any of the translation mistakes which are bound to have  crept into the text.

 Saigon South Vietnam - August, 1970.

               1.  proud to be a vietnamese 

  You are a Vietnamese soldier.   Be proud
 The unbreakable flow of bullets and rockets bruises you, staggers you,
                                                                                   singing the praises
 You are a beast of shackle.  Can you not love your country then ?
 Do  not envy anyone
                      even if you have to live at subsistence level
  Americans are a special lot.   They are stinking with money,
                                                                       their arsenal is fantastic ...
   Do you believe
                     that the pay of all of us,  including you comes from their treasure ?
  Just as one single dollar is worth more than two hundred piasters
  So a single word from the adviser-cum-master carries more weight than
                                                                                          a hell lot of our ideas
  In the battefields we shed blood 
                                   so that our just cause will prevail some day
  I say this
              although I am pretty sick of hollow words like peace, independence, and freedom .
  I also know  the two Vietnams are hirelings of world powers
 We cannot control the fate of ourselves  and of your country .
 This is because
                    we are poor and hungry
                                                    we are weak and powerless
  If we are a chain  ridden race
                  we ought to be proud of it
  Be apologetic to the Allied advisers
                  even when they are to blame
  Forget about your own youth full of scars
  I know this
                 and I  ask you never to utter a cry
                                                           never, never ...
 Don' t be shaken by the reporter who wrote in sorrow
 " In Cam Ranh the Allied MP' s stripped Vietnamese girls
                                                     to search for smuggled goods
We are agreeable to their right of search, but could you explain to me
Why they tore down bras and slips, and why they molested our national flag ..."
 Close our eyes
                    forget it
                           pretend to see nothing
 You know damn well you are not in a position to do anything about it
 Of course you may blush for the weakness of your countrymen 
 These days we are worse than beasts, would you believe ?
( A beast does not stand idle while its mate is bullied )
 We all knew of this through a kindergarten texbook of  good conduct.
  Right! Right!  We are no longer ourselves in our  own land
  I still ask you to be proud to be a Vietnamese
                                                     our country will know its days
 Our people are tired of endless suffering.  Come and rule over us !
                                                                                             O peace !
Of your friends
                count the dead
                            and count the living
Do not forget those who died unburied, do not let them  die for nothing
Do you not believe an ' American ' militiaman
                                  fought because of his goddam salary
None of us could ever bring himself to be a mercenary ...
Be assured ! This land ours
                           impoverished today
                                        will be plentiful of mineral ores
The stratofortresses are doing just that for us, apart from other things
                                                                           which I hate to tell you .
 When they come
                     the mighty earth shakes violently, ceaselessly
 As if under the spell of the macabre music you hear in churches on Sundays
I ask you our sworn enenies,
                                     to be proud
                                             that after twenty years of terrible war
You still stand in your feet
                   while the strafortresses rain millions of tons of bombs and rockets
You deserve to be called true heroes of endurance
 I never question this
                    I only ask you to open your eyes wide enough
 To see your country
                     being reduced to a happy hunting ground
Should we resign ourselves to this
                                  untill doomsday ?
Is  it not fair
               to ask
                        whether the end of the ordeal is in  the offing ?
No matter how you feel
              do not go all funny
                          do not show resentment to Allied soldiers
This bunch of white, browns,  blacks and reds
                                           came here to our rescue
They brought with them
                                  corned beef
                                           and plastic wrapped goods
 They are pretty right if you are aware our encestral enemies
                                                                   the goddam Chinese
Are ready at all times to march in to force domination upon us
Is does not tale long because they are right at  our doorstep
Do not be galled by the sight of boards reading,
                                                        " No Admittance to Locals"
My friend
            bury your face in your hands
                                         then cast a long glance at the sea
 And the mountains and forests and meadows and streams.  This country is ours.
 O when our country cease to be a baby in arms

I have been in every corner of our country
Wherever I was I could not help a grip at my heart
It is so painful to know we are longer able to feed ourselves
 Every bullet
                every toilet roll
                       every  piaster  of our earnings
Do not come from our land
Do not go all funny, man
                      the mountainous sorrow will make of you a philosopher
Not long before long
           we will have no more taste left for bucolic poetry
Instead, we will write treatises on human  despair
I know you
           do not want to have any more talk about it ...
   I only want to tell you
                Do not let the foreigners whore your wives
   Do not approve of mixed marriage
               however profitable it seems
   Educate your children
               on the hardships and misfortunes of today
  To live in suffering is to live deservedly
  When you go out in the streets
                when you are on  operation in the countryside
  Try  hard to protect our women and girls
               Do not act like goddam strangers
 ( No decent fellow can afford to be a foreigner in his own country )
  Cool down man !
                when you  are taken as undesirable background in photographs
 When you see the Yanks going out of the PX, all smiles
 Cool down man !
 When you have not enough to live on
                               it goes without saying
 You should refrain from buying gifts for your girl friend of your own race .


  poem by the phong 

Dai Nam Van Hien Books, Saigon 1970.

                                                                                                           Reprinted Article

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