Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

My Mother's Sister

My Mother's Sister

By Bui Hoang Tam

Toiling away her life
On high and low paddy fields,
My aunt never once looked up,
Never even knew there was a moon.


Winter's Oath


It began the winter
My soldiering uncle did not return.
On a country afternoon
My aunt took the oath of winter.

A woman who waited for her husband,
Our legends say, has turned to stone.  But my aunt
Turned to nothing.  The stone will stand,
Holding a child, waiting for the footsteps of her faraway man.
But my aunt knew she was alone. Mountains are paired like man and wife,
They say, but my aunt embraced her longing, her hair turning white.

The day I crossed the bridge she did not cry,
Fearing she would ruin my wedding.
So now that her soul has gone to heaven,
I kowtow to her and fall prostrate to the winter sky.

Translated by Thieu Khanh, Nguyen Phan Que Mai, and Kwame Dawes


Bui Hoang Tam

Born in 1958 at Giắng, a village of Đông Tân Hamlet, Đông Hưng district, Thái Bình Province, Bui Hoang Tam is a member of the Vietnam Writers' Association. He is currently a journalist and the subeditor of Dân Trí ePaper (dantri.com). Wellknown for his lục bát (six-eight) poems, Bui Hoang Tam mostly publishes his works in newspapers and magazines. Two collections of his poems have been released: The River of Folklore (1994) and Under the Blue Sky (1997).

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