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THI MY DA, Lam


Speaking to the Heart


After a long night up writing poems,

a streak of sunlight leapt into my room.

I ran to the yard,

running as if I were a child,

footprints breaking the earth's first dew,

chest brushing softly the short grass.

Earth and sky seeped into me like wine.

Startled,

I saw my heart in the shape of a ploughshare<

resting on the earth's shoulder,

the heart thumping, steadily ploughing into time.


Bomb Crater Sky


They say that you, a road builder

Had such love for our country

You rushed out and waved your torch

To call the bombs down on yourself

And save the road for the troops


As my unit passed on that worn road

The bomb crater reminded us of your story

Your grave is radiant with bright-colored stones

Piled high with love for you, a young girl


As I looked in the bomb crater where you died

The rain water became a patch of sky

Our country is kind

Water from the sky washes pain away


Now you lie down deep in the earth

As the sky lay down in that earthen crater

At night your soul sheds light

Like the dazzling stars

Did your soft white skin

Become a bank of white clouds?


By day I pass under a sun-flooded sky

And it is your sky

And that anxious, wakeful disc

Is it the sun, or is it your heart

Lighting my way

As I walk down the long road?


The name of the road is your name

Your death is a young girl's patch of blue sky

My soul is lit by your life


And my friends, who never saw you

Each has a different image of your face



Garden Fragrance


Last night a bomb exploded on the veranda

But sounds of birds sweeten the air this morning

I sense the fragrant trees, look in the garden

Find two silent clusters of ripe guavas