Missing the Autumn in Hanoi*

There’s a chill in the air
and it is a cloudy day
Oh how I’m overwhelmed
by nostalgic memories
of the old old days

There’s no Fall in Saigon
where I grew up
Yet I miss Hanoi in the Autumn
The melody keeps
recurring in my mind

Hanoi in the Fall
Strolling among people
I’m wondering if
I’m missing someone
The Autumn sky in Hanoi
will respond to me someday
The roads will have
the answer for me someday

Hanoi in the Autumn
The Autumn in Hanoi
How I miss someone
thus missing everyone

* the title of a popular Vietnamese pop song
The words in italics are lyrics from the song.

Random Thoughts on the Full Moon Night

Tonight the moonlight is red
the effect of the lunar eclipse

I gaze at the super moon
and launch my thoughts
at the speed of light

It will take 1.26 seconds
to meet yours there
souls of poem loving
hearts of nature adoring

Shall we have a full moon poetry party
on the moon tonight?

Sleeping with the Moon (a translation)

I learned of Jeff Schwaner’s Full Moon Social from reading Robert Okaji’s wonderful poetry blog.

I thought I would translate one of the many beautiful Vietnamese poems about the moon into English, before attempting to write a piece my own.
Here is my interpretation and adaptation of the poem “Sleeping with the Moon” written in 1938 by a well-known Vietnamese poet – Hàn Mặc Tử.


Sleeping with the Moon (by Hàn Mặc Tử)

I’m over the moon and
want to fly among the clouds
Am I not cut out to be a poet
thirsty for the moon and love?

I chase the sun alighting,
singing, shining on the trees
and on the rosy-cheeked maiden
filled with innocent love in her heart
The wind sends the love song
soaring to the sky
the verses dancing among the clouds

I see myself in the moment
The moonlight is embracing the pond
Words of love are floating
in the silver mist
then cascade down the well

I drink a handful of water from the creek
Ignoring the cold I walk up
to the hill and fall asleep
covered with a blanket of moonlight
over my body it sparkles


Ngủ Với Trăng (Hàn Mặc Tử)

Ta không nhấp rượu
Mà lòng ta say
Vì lòng nao nức muốn
Ghì lấy đám mây bay
Té ra ta vốn làm thi sĩ
Khát khao trăng gió mà không hay
Ta đi bắt nắng ngừng, nắng reo, nắng cháy
Trên sóng cành, sóng áo cô gì má đỏ hây hây
Ta rình nghe niềm ý bâng khuâng trong gió lảng
Với là hơi thở nồng nàn của tuổi thơ ngây
Gió nâng khúc hát lên cao vút
Vần thơ uốn éo lách từng mây
Ta hiểu ta rồi, trong một phút
Lời tình chơi vơi giữa sương bay
Tiếng vàng rơi xuống giếng
Trăng vàng ôm bờ ao
Gió vàng đang xao xuyến
Áo vàng bởi chị chưa chồng đã mặc đi đêm
Theo tôi đến suối xa miền
Cởi thơ, cởi mộng, cởi niềm yêu thương
Mây trôi lơ lửng trên giòng nước
Đôi tay vốc uống quên lạnh lùng
Ngả nghiêng đồi cao bọc trăng ngủ
Đầy mình lốm đốm những hào quang

Early Sunday Mornings

7AM Sunday morning. Life is in its virgin state. The air is pristine and sweet. Like a newly bloomed white rose brushed with the morning dew.

I’m lying still in bed listening to the quietness of a tranquil morning. Waiting for real life to begin.

A life where I don’t wander from cubicle to cubicle. Like a zombie.

A life where the canopy is waiting for me. The flowers are singing their rites.The day is competing with the night.

A life where I delight and de-stress. And love and lust. And reflect and rejuvenate.

A life where I’m truly alive.

Random Thoughts 09.25.2015

We went looking for a wedding card
and stumbled upon this one which portrays
a couple sitting by the Eiffel tower
and which is inscribed “Eiffel deeply in love with you”
which I thought so cute
I have looked for myself in poetry
and found Pollock’s drip paintings
paint the cobwebs inside my brain

Denver, Colorado Sept. 2015

The Day You Said It

It was kisses
It was squeezes
It was touches
It was us

You did it
Like you had never done it before
You said it
Like you had never said it before

You moved
You aroused
You uplifted

My heart was blooming
My mind was blowing
My soul was shaken
The day you said it

The day you said it
The grass was singing a song
The leaves were rustling along
The clouds were smiling above

We were blown away

The day you said it


Royal Tomb of Emperor Khải Định
Royal Tomb of Emperor Khải Định. Photo by Anvi Hoang

What springs to mind when I think about Huế?

Is it the old capital where multiple
generations of my great grandfathers
served the courts of many emperors
throughout the nineteenth century?

Is it the Hương river with its scented name
its soft flow and beautiful contour
a muse for countless literateurs?

How many men have had crushes
on Huế girls strolling along
Tràng Tiền bridge
appealing in their violet áo dài
the traditional dress showcasing
the charm, the sweetness,
the sensuality, the femininity
of the wearers?

Is it the spicy taste of bún bò Huế
a typical dish from Huế?
I can still feel its sweet taste on my tongue
my favorite childhood dish
which my mom used to make
on my birthdays
back home decades ago

In any case

It carries the pride
the pleasure
the sour
the spiciness

the nourishing memories
of our past
our ancestors
our cultural heritages
our royal cuisine


Tràng Tiền bridge spanning the Hương river
Tràng Tiền bridge spanning the Hương river. Photo by Anvi Hoang