The Vietnamese - American Poetic Spirit

And The Time Went By

Thong Ba Le

Over the hill

And the lotus flowers kept flowing downstream
along the river with weeping hollow's dream,
away from the place that once they grew
to the seaside there the sun rises in morning dew.

They continued on the unreachable journey
with the clouds hanging over the waves.
And chicken hawks reflected in the blue sea,
their blurred flight to the sunset mountain must be.

Looking back he realized that his premier golden time,
the disappearance of his past went by
and had expired along with his memory
so as the sweet dream to be in the war victory.

As the time went by in this temporary life
waiting for happening of the Big Bang to fly
into another world of Infinity without fear
dragging along his lost sadness and souvenirs.

Solitude

Waving with the wind in the deserted park,
the old magazine hung over the bench
laying next to the littered, cropped grass
an old tennis ball sat by the steel fence.

Flocks of blackbirds in a "V" formation
leaving behind sole cry of a late crow
extending its wings to companions,
in the purple sky with dew sinking low.

The painting of a butterfly hanging
on a yellow tennis ball, colorful
crinkled paper is seen in the evening,
when stars brighten up the cosmos in full.

Silent night is swollen by its petals
broken by the sound of steps on metal.

Story Of A Life

(The Old Things)

The old chariot
stopped at the dark oak tree.
The tired old horse
exhausted.
The old man
leaned on his trembling feet
checking the loose tread wheels,
shaking.
He got a water bottle from the bamboo basket,
that was old too,
and fed the thirsty horse.
He drank from the canteen
and washed his face with cold water.
He did not move to wipe off the fly
that was sucking salty sweat off his neck,
satisfying.
The tree shadow was shrinking,
barely with a few leaves on skinny limbs
hanging.
Just like the old miserable country
suffered from destruction,
from napalm bombs and famine
in a long yet ended war and
surviving.
The people were bored.
Those powerful dictators too.
There was nothing left for them to collect... so
depressing.

He cried in many endless silent nights
awakening.

The Journey

He began his journey with the new world-war-fear,
crying on the fourth day of a New Year
that was called as "The year of New Snake"
and ended his agony with a new life in the States.

He traveled though three wars in distress.
The first one he could not forget;
the people being burned dead by atomic bombs,
which were dropped in Japan on their homes.

Communists took all credit from Viet patriots
in the second war against the French who lost
in Indochina and were killed by the Marxists.
He fought in the third war between ideologists

The last torment was neither from the enemy's strength
nor from the lack of courage among friends,
but by so-called "comrades-at-arm" as such
who cowardly betrayed their countryman's trust.

In his lifetime trek, through wars his character enriched
by recognizing that the journey would reach
a universal end, not the global finish.
And tests always challenged him throughout his trip.

"In Love and Destiny" was his belief
even when he was filled with grief.

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