“Poem Written Here” – Nguyen Dinh Nhac – an Expatriate’s Song

If prose is the soul in words, then poetry is the soul dancing.

The dance, this dance, may not reach  us at the moment, busy as we are with work and family and life, though I suggest to you that that is one way poetry is better than music.  If you missed it because you were toiling over dinner or texting your teen, you can always come back to it; the poem is there for you, awaiting your return, till the recitals are all over and your hair has gone gray.

And, even when you are no longer, it will still be there.

 

Poem Written Here

      by Nguyen Dinh Nhac, translated to the English by Nguyen Thi Xuan Ba.

Look, the long river laughs contemptuously.

Let the clouds flow by to admire their reflected beauty.

Let the flock of young birds gain the forest.

The heart of the river is wide enough for the enormous fish.

 

There are moments when life seems long, no reason to hurry.

Dreams not yet fulfilled, still waiting to join hands.

Dreams not yet fulfilled, still waiting for a surge of energy,

We still need to mold our fury into fiery rockets.

 

Here is a poem written to stoke an old friend’s spirit.

Let’s build an army on the heat of vengeance

That can’t wait a thousand autumns.

A heart turning into stone can’t reclaim our country.

 

Here is a poem written not to win a few nor lose,

But to call forth a thousand sounds to reach the collective heart

Of our people like the roars of the tigers.

Our iron resolve will break the chains.

 

Here is a poem written to herald a better day.

Millions of people who suffer together

The same pain, the same color blood coursing through the same veins,

Let’s march.  Let’s follow those who went before.

 

Nguyen Dinh Nhac and his family escaped from Vietnam in 1975, leaving his life, his country, and his home.  

Sunset on the Mekong River

Sunset on the Mekong River

About mylinhshattan

I’m a writer who has worked in the private sector, taught at college, and served in the U.S. Army. I hold a B.S. in Mathematics from West Point, an M.B.A. from Florida Southern College, and an M.F.A. in Writing from Queens University.