Extract from Joseph Hieu Dinh’s Blog: www.jhdinh.blogspot.com
Last Tuesday, I had the opportunity to visit this amazing grandmother. Her name is Dan Phung, an internationally renown poet, whose works have once been published exclusively for Saigon Times and Van Nghe newspaper. Its quite ironic that she prefers a quiet lifestyle, in an old Bankstown unit, considering such a big name she’s established.
Learning that her age is 87, almost like my very own grandfather, I respectfully apologised and began addressing her as “Ba” instead of “Bac.” She smiled gracefully – it was one of those rare moments – it’s not every day a young Australian-born asks her about poetry and I felt blessed to have the Vietnamese skills, enough to be able to share a couple of laughs with her, and be inspired by her collection of poetry.
As gift, she gave me an original copy of four poems she’s written; each one describing a different season of the year (including the to-be released poem about Spring – September 2009). I asked her for permission to have it translated, to have her work appreciated by others. Here goes:
MÙA ĐÔNG XỨ ÚC
Mùa Đông xứ Úc cũng vui thay !
Đào vẫn đơm bông…cúc nở dầy…
Ngoài cửa nàng Xuân đang ngấp nghé
Trong ta tâm sự cũng ngây ngây… !
Nhớ sao một bóng hình yêu dấu !?
Gợi mãi ngày xưa hạnh phúc đầy
Nay cảnh dẫu thơ, tình dẫu đẹp
Vắng tri âm, mộng chẳng hoài xây !
WINTER IN AUSTRALIA
Winter in Australia still brings about joy
The peach-blossoms develops; the yellow-perennial bloom,
Over the window,
The covetous eyes rests upon the emerging ‘Miss’ Spring.
Beautiful thoughts drifting in my heart !
I cannot stop reminiscing those loving images,
Of those happier days together.
No matter how poetic a place can be,
No matter what love can now promise to bring
Without your presence, thoughts keep building inside me.
ANALYSIS: This is an octave poem (8-line), each lines composed with seven words. Other Vietnamese poetic techniques were used, which are yet for me to discover and learn. Feminist influences led to beautiful seasons being addressed as “Nang Xuan” (Miss Spring). This poem was written in the context of the 10th Anniversary of the passing-away of the poet’s husband. It was the love of poetry that they had in common, and the change-of-emotion is seen as the poem progresses: the first four line’s description of nature’s beauty contrasts with the final four lines in which the persona reminices the past.
Hope to hear your responses, suggestions and guidance to improve this brief poetry analysis: firstname.lastname@example.org