Treasure Island

Nhuan LeXuan

(1930 / Vietnam)

Confiding in Young Bro.


There seemed to be a bird-nest under the thatch roof;
I was pleased to hear the adult preen the young.
How I remember the bamboo cage I clasped as a kid
with little creatures to which my passionate eyes clung.

Now that those fledglings were perhaps learning to fly;
Please give me the small stone from your hand.
This is the bit of Conscience that still remains in me:
Have the heart using it to shoot at them? what brand!

I can even recall a sunset, on a grass edge,
a pair were mating. My hands wavered at the sight
while aiming the catapult. Aware of my adolescence,
I allowed their Love to freely fly with the birds’ flight.

Thenceforth too I pledged to prize Life forever;
but now why do such tears foam to blur the elation?
The blanket so thin to cover the chest so deserted;
Could you hear beyond the smiling lips the desolation?

Perhaps the resonance of some exploding shells
piercing the air, tearing our motherland’s intestines.
Men after men have died for Liberty to survive,
bodies as manure to fertilize the grass as fate destines.

I was hesitant to say this since long I have meant to:
Poor Dad swapped his sweat for food to feed each son.
Mom luckily has rested in peace in earth’s womb;
We brothers each of us have our life lonely and dun.

Do not reproach me for leaving our dear dwelling
to walk the streets, especially from studies to depart.
Have you also been every night lying in bed reflecting?
Oh, please, stop crying - do not rend apart my heart!

Submitted: Friday, February 13, 2009
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