Sa Mộc – Phạm Vân Anh (Chapter 6)


Open up nine levels of sky

Echoing sound of bird singing in mount’s entrance

Bustle the late pear branch to blossom

which level that rain comes

which level that wind breaths

which level that light drunks

which level that cloud jostles

which level that rock falls

Crack that imprinted in mount’s heart

Crack in human’s heart

Which level carries the footstep’s desire on the sharp rock this



The village elders speak an inarticulate language of the


Vietnamese’s heart is old bamboo

In the dawn, bamboo made houses, sharpened into stake

  thicken the fence, chopped into strings that tight

Let the heirs create the shape of the milestone

Vietnamese’s heart is salty salt

The fountains meet river

The rivers flow along docks

The rooted trees

The leaves fall to forest

Despite the whirling whining wind

Crossing human race in a blink of an eye

Suffering could not diminish truthful loving


Thin cricket’s sound strungs beads on rock

Droplet of dawn shiny wet of time

Tiny horse-belly road

Road just as a fingerprint

Your blue-eyes road

Road of tilting fermented leaf

My hamlet is in mountain’s deep

Rolling on and on from afar

Faded cold winter

But the leg that accustomed to you walks happily

If the stomach has fond of you then cold earth warm of words

Warm the mountain’s soul, forest’s soul

Warm the sound of the forebear

Rather stay arduous than abandon the land

Let hands of boys and girls warm when growing corn’s crop

Let elders sing happy words of everywhere[1]

Let children joyful with their reading task

I’ll wait for you at tall house entrance when festival comes

I’ll wait for you at mount’s entrance when festival comes

If cupid’s arrow has been shot then look for it in the vacant valley

Ruddy two cheeks smelled of corn flour

Let the deer send my love to you

                                love that I’ve kept inside since a spring once upon a time


Red sunflower calls Tet holiday of Co Nhe Cha[2]

Hillful of white orchid longing aocom’s button line [3]

See a linseed hill and adore the hand that carries out the spinning

A flap of seven-spectrum dress yearns for buckwheat season that just take off

Forest fragrance is being balmy

Lotus blossoms upon pond’s surface and your flowering road


May you not too far-off

Path of no human footprint, thick of fox trace

Smell of hundred years stays on the leaves of the pass

On patrol road there comes a laugh from the melted shroud of fog

Canhichi night with your voice singing  [4]

Hey A Co, hey A Nhi…

Who brought our hamlet next to the fountain

Who helped our people opens up mountain sets up village

Canhichi soaks in the voice of a foggy night

A spring domain glances at me and smile in bashfulness

The virginity that you gave had embarrassed the guy[5]

Though my eye sight have tighted on you

Road back to guarding post is drunk of fog yeast

Road back to guarding post is fragrant of a lady’s aroma

Let the pure dream stormy in Pang Loi[6]


Opens up ten levels of mountain

These days the forest filled with sound of gibbons obstreperously call each other
Productive season whispers in the border land
Rain is just enough for thrilling love
A whole loving domain cherishes the drunkish exultant

Out-of-nowhere abnormal wind gratingly scratches at the leaves invites them to play chase and catch

as if tens of thousand souls of grass and tree are joyful of a heroic forest festival

The light-thirst plankton fly straight to the lamp

searching for sublimation moment just to be then exploded in burning heat

A melody swishes

Boys and girls join the forest sound in punching beat

Grand parents’ gong told that Nation is the root,

Parents’ gong advise that country is the foundation

Successor’s gong avidly steps the foot step of expansion

May your hand grows crop, Mother’s hand carries out plant cuttings

Father’s axe cultivates so as the earth wound stop breaking and


May a thousand year the gun sound is absent from the border

So I can see a dawn when fruits blossom on your lips


Open up millions of heart yearning in such domain

Forest’s trees don’t betray human

Border’s land doesn’t betray human

Harvests season flavoursomed of new glutinous

Gong beats impassioned with words…

[1] Traditional folk song of the Thai, Tho

[2] Traditional Tet holiday of the Ha Nhi celebrated in the end of January

[3] Translator note: ao com is the traditional shirt of Thai woman

[4] A matchmaker singing night of the Ha Nhi

[5] In the first days of a new year, unmarried girls of Ha Nhi are allowed to choose among the boys that they had seen at the festival to make love with. After that, she would then leave and go get married

[6] The river of Ha Nhi hamlet in the Apachai borderland’s crossroad, where the hero Tran Van Tho sacrificed himself for the peaceful and prosperity of the people

What do you think?

Written by Trúc Anh

Vietnamese, English, Thai, Chinese

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ABOUT A PILGRIMAGE by Nguyen Quang Thieu (translated by VTNM)

“Sự tích Chúa”, tập thơ giàu liên tưởng của Nguyễn Mạnh Hà