IMAGE OF A LIFE

by Thong Ba Le

(In memory of my country)

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.

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HNH ẢNH MỘT CUỘC ĐỜI

Chiếc xe dừng cạnh cy đa
Con ngựa gi ốm thở ra ph ph
ng ni run rẩy co ro
Lay vnh xe ngựa thăm d trước sau

Bnh bi đng nước phai mu
Người ngựa cng uống chia nhau nỗi lng
Đau buồn số phận long đong
L lất ngy thng sống trong cơ hn

Chiến tranh reo rắc điu tn
Ngn dn đi khổ "napalm"chy bng
Độc ti đảng trị chẳng dung
Thẳng tay đn p v cng thương tm

Qu hương căm hận m thầm
V niềm hy vọng thanh m xa vời
Trong đm vắng lặng cầu trời
Thương người dn Việt cuối đời thảnh thơi.