Phan Xuân Sinh

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Archive for Tháng Tám 12th, 2009


Posted by phanxuansinh trên Tháng Tám 12, 2009

Song of The Defeated Soldier

sáng tác – thơ

Phan Xuân Sinh
(Translated by nguyễn đức nguyên from Bài Ca Người Thất Trận – damau #23)

be silent
you, the aged defeated soler

when your eyes become blurry, your footsteps weary
your flak jacket in raggedy
your pair of boots decayed to rot
little strength remained to carry on combat
to endure the contest
just sit still
feel the deep pain
that penetrates your brain
like a bullet in the chest
a direct hit
at the very end of the conflict

be silent
you, the aged defeated soler

your sword, now, blunt and rusted
your gun, old, its nozzle splintered
body parts scattered in every direction
and as your world lies in ruins
just listen
to half-hidden and transparent ghosts
floating over abandoned graves
sprouting all over the wide open fields
overlooking the white mourning headbands,
listlessly flowing with the wind during the refuge runs
ghosts of uncertain times, masks of apprehension
just sit still
calm your soul

be silent
you, the aged defeated soler

from within you, try to eradicate
the tough, sturdy
and straight barricade
in your heart, once fabricated
to find yourself
and even if you fell
stand up and be erect
once more

be  silent
you, my aged defeated soldier

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Posted by phanxuansinh trên Tháng Tám 12, 2009


Transl. By Kevin Bowen & Nguyen Ba Chung

Pour me another drink, buddy
This is an occasion I’d like to savor
Let’s not think about tomorrow
Forget tomorrow, let’s enjoy this moment/today
What soldiers aren’t frightened at the moment of battle
Some pee in their pants

Like you I have a young sweet heart/girl friend
Eying anxiously at the gate at home
Death or life is an intractable disease
It isn’t easy to escape one’s lot
We soldiers today carry no hatred
Friends or enemies there aren’t any line

Let’s drink. Leave all problems behind
We might even have a couple more rounds if we could
Why do we have to play the game of blood
to give water to the seeds of hate
Fie! I am sick of all these nonsense tricks
Playing games that we both lose

Your sweat heart lives far away in the north
Is she now busily hiding from the falling bombs
or anxiously eyeing the southern front
fearing her lover would return a martyr
And she will learn to forget, like so many things
love has to be treated like an ornament
even if one/she has to lie to admit it

This round of drinking today, I’ll have to get drunk,

buddy so that in that stupor we don’t have to see each other as  enemies.


Transl. By Kevin Bowen & Nguyen Ba Chung

By the side of the road, I stand, waiting for spring
In a world upside down, churning with sorrows
From what’s left, can we give each other enough space
like the vastness of the sky that never ends

The street is now completely deserted
Spring hasn’t come but there’s the moon
I do not know where I will go next
The moonlit path is buried deep in the snow

Leaning against a corner I can see
I am swimming in a sea of thirsts
Here comes the spring. Should I shout
Or turn my back, hiding behind a shrub.


Transl. By Kevin Bowen & Nguyen Ba Chung

Blasts of hurricanes shook the earth
And I a small bird losing/flailing its way
Death specter came near and quick
How many mountains could an ant climb?

Rifles and butts, sweat and despair
A world darkened by fits of terror
Arrests and prisons, roads and dead ends
How many frontier passes without/
[I didn’t leave] a footprint?

What voice I still hear now, midnight?
What wailings of ghosts still ring my ears?
The price of clarity is immense sadness
Could I mend, even a bit, the old wounds?

In the new land, my hair is turning white
The old village roofs disappear in the distant mist
A life half drawn of a bad lot
The other half lives with the old nightmares

Is there a home the old bird could return
Or has it been lost to the myth of time
And I condemned to relive the broken past
Living life a misty vapor.


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