Three by
Lâm Thi My Da

for my women friends
My friends are gathered here
Like a cluster of fresh fruit.
Bright as red monordica
Soothing as custard apples
Sharp and keen as star-fruit
They give, like gold persimmons.

The durian behind its thorn
Exudes an unearthly scent.
Outside green, inside red ---
O, sweet watermelon.

My friends love serenely
Like squash on low vines.
When we talk over snail soup
And laugh, our voices rise.

None of us has much time
But we give to one another.
When one of us goes away
The others stand by her boat.

I love you deeply, friends.
Though life is passing by
I hope our sharing of sweetness
And sorrow never ends.

I have carried friendship with me
On all my many journeys ---
An undepleted treasure
Like the vibrant shimmering sky.

And if in dark moments
My life seems dull and bleak,
I am warmed by the hearts of friends
Like pineapple, fresh and sweet.

§     §     §

Night Harvest

The white circles of conical hats have come out
Like the quiet skies of our childhood,
Like an egret's spreading wings in the night:
White circles evoking the open sky.

The golds of rice and cluster-bombs blend together.
Even delayed-fuse bombs bring no fear:
Our spirits have known many years of war.
Come, sisters, let us gather the harvest.

Each of us wears her own small moon
Glittering on a carpet of gold rice.
We are the harvesters of my village,
Twelve white hats bright in the long night.

We are not frightened by bullets and bombs in the air ---
Only by dew wetting our lime-scented hair.

--- 1971

§     §     §

Dedicated To A Dream

A bird brings a dream and flies away.
A little boy sleeps under a starlit sky;
He has no worries.
What did you dream last night?
I dreamed I became a bird.
What was the voice of the bird in the dream?
The bird in the dream was silent
Like a mermaid,
Its radiant song
Kept all its life
As a gift for one person.

Flying through a thousand nights
Flying through a thousand stars
Leaves gleaming a magical color
Flowers shaped like fingers and hands ---
Sleep now sleep
Now sleep.

Who was the boy?
I was the boy.
Who was the bird?
I was the bird.
Who was the dream?
I was the dream.

Last night
I dreamed I became myself.
I dreamed I became a bird.
I dreamed I became a dream.

--- From Six Vietnamese Poets
Edited by Hguyen Be Chung
and Kevin Bowen
©2002 Curbstone Press
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