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Poetry Corner


Life Candles


Iíll blow out those red candles and observe

my birthday wandering in America.

Though quickly spring slips by, let me rejoice;

time-stained, Iíve earned another year of age.

Here linger still two streams of candle tears;

they grieve and mourn that youth has inched away.

Mountains and oceans sunder me in twain;

half of my soul yet clings to my poor land.

And when I gaze toward it, my people seem

outside the window flitting past like leaves.

Condemned to roll amidst the dust, I miss

those left behind, long for my hills and streams.

I am a bird whoís fled its crimson cage;

wing-worn, it flies toward shores still lost in mists.

From my own people, shadows so remote,

sad echoes of their whispers come at night.

Another birthday far away from home;

much farther yet Iíve strayed from native roots.

But on some happy day Iíll be back there;

awash with love, Iíll celebrate my birth.


(Silver Spring, Sept. 6, 1981)


Vinh Liem

Translated from Vietnamese by Huynh Sanh Thong


   Contact: Vinh Liem

                   1 Applegrath Court, Germantown, MD 20876-5613 (U.S.A.)


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