Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Women from the 1960s (II)

Women from the 1960s (II)

By Ngo Tu Lap

You grew up on the hill
Among the singing young palm trees
But the wound on your chest is seeping
And time like poison wine soaks into your heart
Do you weep, holding the sorrowful sky?

The birds' nests there are tattered
Sea-pine needles begin to fall

My heart is pierced again
Sea-pine needles, thousands of needles
Why are your eyes still clear?

I've forgotten my young girl's shyness
As I've wandered back on the Trung Du road

Holding you in my arms
In search of that early morning, the sun and wind
I remember myself at twenty
Your lips touching my breast
My hair touching your lips

The sea pine has grown up on the hill
If you lay its golden fruits on the grass
I'll caress them every evening

Translated from the Vietnamese by Martha Collins and the author.

Prairie Schooner, Vol. 81, No. 1 (Spring 2007), p. 142


Ngo Tu Lap

Ngo Tu Lap (Ngô Tự Lập) has published three collections of poetry and five books of fiction, five books of essays, and many translations from Russian, French, and English. He has won seven prizes for his writing, which has been translated into English, French, German, Swedish, Czech, and Thai. A bilingual edition of his poems, Black Stars (Milkweed), was co-translated with Martha Collins. A member of the Union of Vietnamese Writers, he is now the editor of the Journal of Science (Vietnam National University).

Martha Collins is the author of the forthcoming Day Unto Day (Milkweed), as well as White Papers (Pittsburgh), Blue Front (Graywolf), and four earlier collections of poems. She has also co-translated three volumes of Vietnamese poetry, most recently Black Stars by Ngo Tu Lap (Milkweed, with the author). Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin until 2007, she is currently editor-at-large for FIELD magazine. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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