Nhuan LeXuan

(1930 / Vietnam)

The Train Whistle


There is a railroad not far from where I dwell;
The night train wails within listening distance.
Its whistle in my remembrance recalls well
My dad’s eager dream throughout his existence.

At least once he yearned, by his ardor urged,
To ride an express train from South to North
Right after the country from hostilities emerged,
To revisit old beautiful sceneries henceforth.

Alas, one day he deceased, still discontent,
Leaving behind the modest wish yet not come true.
But, were he to live unto this day of no consent,
He would feel each night more grief so undue.

What of the world that exceeds the irony bitter,
If not that upon the end of all firing and dying
The crowds had to rush and seek refuge hither,
Crossing the risky oceans, any dangers defying?

Here, I have been longing and will still wait
For a glorious return from this exile line,
For his sake to realize his reverie, though late,
To contemplate again the landscapes in the shine.

Yes, to admire the divinely splendid country
Where ancesters’d drawn swords since foundation,
Setting bright examples of national recovery
To dutiful heirs of that inseverable nation.

But there each night the train whistles and wails
Since the railroad is close to where I reside.
As steel wheels are rolling on chill steel rails,
Its whistle rends my heart with nostalgia inside.

Submitted: Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Edited: Thursday, December 25, 2008
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