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Thu Phuong – Huong Ve Ha Noi

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Composer: Hoang Dung
English Title: Toward Ha Noi
Translated By: Gigi

Oh, Ha Noi, my gaze directed towards the distant city
Where lanterns hang side-to-side like webs everywhere
Where colorful dresses flutter aimlessly in the wind
Oh, Ha Noi, your streets stretch beneath the serene moon
Where soft, gentle willows innocently direct the wind
I wonder if you can comprehend the feelings of this lonely guest

Oh, Ha Noi, those joyful days have already abandoned us
I wonder if you harbor any fond recollections of them
Those minutes during separation have already ended
Oh, Ha Noi, that hypnotizing yet charming jet-black figure
That smooth hair faintly blowing in the wind
I might return on that distant day any time now

One day, when war erupted in the middle of a season
Birds separated from the flock across the misty, passing sky
One day, when flowers and leaves became tattered
My gaze fixated on those distant shores,
Regretfully missing the figure that has already disappeared

Oh, Ha Noi, the water from your lakes are illuminating mirrors
Your summer sun paints warm colors upon my lips
Where peace and the sound of clogs rejoice in happiness
Oh, Ha Noi, my life is fated to an eternity of wandering
I fondly yearn for you every time night plummets
I send a message following the thousand birds in the sky

Oh, Ha Noi, my gaze directed towards the ancient city
With saddened eyes and a weary heart every rainy night
While wind and clouds shake this despair within my heart
Oh, Ha Noi, let us exchange these feelings within our hearts
I'll only feel misery if I continue to miss you constantly
Bitterness will only await me in the next lifetime

Oh, Ha Noi, those days of our youth have already passed
That roof of the school building, and phoenix flowers blooming
That evening figure chasing the shadow of a swan
Oh, Ha Noi, those hypnotizing yet charming jet-black eyes
That smooth hair faintly blowing in the wind
Just believe that I will return on that distant day

One day, when the war slowly dissipated
Fire and smoke groveled in dirt, searching for the shore
One day, when flowers and leaves are revived again
We can finally serenade those love songs
We can finally express those endearing words

Oh, Ha Noi, I wonder if you're still eagerly waiting for anything
Or if you still direct your gaze towards anybody anymore
During those evenings when you're distant from the river's shore
Oh, Ha Noi, those evenings where the wind evokes the open sea
There's someone silently watching the clouds fly
Who's endlessly thinking of you for eternity...


Quang Le – Suong Trang Mien Que Ngoai

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Composer: Dinh Mien Vu
English Title: White Dew in Motherland
Translated By: Gigi

At night, I paddle across muddy swamps, with mud clinging onto my body.
Drops of white dew fall onto my shoulders, softening them with the coldness.
Birds weep across the land, calling each other to fly towards where?
Speechless, a group of gibbons also call out to each other.

Every time I hold the gun close to my chest until my hands become numb,
With sunken eyes following the infinite illusions, I let out a long sigh.
In a faraway land, my mother carries the burden on her shoulders,
While you are illuminating, like a bright lantern shining within tomorrow's dew.

Mother, I wonder if you know that I'm sitting in my own grave right now? (1)
The wind promises, the rain vows, and once I return to motherland,
Just so my mother can send a message asking about my condition.
That one road in our old village during the old years, when I was still small
I followed my mother to school, and now, that old road is still there,
With strands of willow trees dancing in the wind to a sad lullaby.

I'm busy with military operations, so it might be hard to visit each other.
But we still have each other like we have our very first breath entering life.
Your hair still has the sweet scent of the sky-high grass.
Allow me to tell you my plans for our future.

My friends left following the layers of the years.
I heard that a few of my close friends sometimes never return.
Please let me have you continue praying for my life.
Rocks are soft, but our feet are hard, so my mother still has a future. (2)

Translator's Notes:
(1) What this means is that he feels like he's waiting to die in the battlefield, and that everywhere he sits is like his own grave. He doesn't know whether or not he can survive.
(2) What this means is that rocks are soft in the sense that if you hit them hard enough, they break. But with our feet, if we have a strong footing, we won't trip over as easily. And if we do fall or trip, we can still stand up. His mother still having a future implies that the country still has a future.


Quang Dung – Ta

Composer: Quoc Dung
Poet: Pham Ngoc
English Title: I
Translated By: Gigi

I'm drunken with sorrow
I'm laughing hysterically with the pain
I'm searching for the source
I'm escaping towards the open sea

I'm standing in front of the sky's entrance
I'm calling out to my lover of a hundred years
I'm inflicted with pain within a broken dream
I'm letting loose the words of remorse

I'm sinking into the river of my consciousness
I'm extending my hand out to beckon
The road on this world is dim and distant
I have yet to find my path of return

We lost each other yesterday
We search for each other today
I'm a different person every day
I'm a bird that has lost its way.


Nhu Quynh – Nua Vang Trang

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Composer: Nhat Trung
English Title: Crescent
Translated By: Gigi

One lonely crescent moon at night
Dreadfully thinking of someone, it falls onto the river
Along with the river's water, it floats and wanders
To find the one it loves

One lonely crescent moon, you are somewhere far away
While I anticipate your return, halfheartedly missing you
Waiting for your arrival, waiting for your love
To complete this moon

Where are you? This moon feels lonely
How could you forget our love so easily?
This moon withers away with all its yearning and love
Causing love to hastily disappear

There's only me embracing this loneliness left
This tender moon, who could sever it in half?
Sadness falls for eternity, however, the pain remain
I continue to embrace this love

Sitting here with the lonely, waning moon
My heart misses you at the end of the earth
Even if you have already disappeared from me
To enjoy a newfound love

By myself, I embrace my aching heart
Searching for you beneath the crumbling moon at night
My heart hopes that you won't forget
Within that desolate place is me forever waiting

Within that desolate place...is me forever waiting...for you.


Khanh Ly – Bai Ca Danh Cho Nhung Xac Nguoi

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In remembrance of the victims of the Hue Massacre - 1968
"Because of who that children mourn over their parents while wives mourn over their husbands?"

Composer: Trinh Cong Son
English Title: A Ballad for the Dead
Translated By: Gigi

Dead bodies float along the river
They lie in the rice fields, soaked in sunlight
On the rooftops of the city
On the winding, tortuous streets

Dead bodies lying around aimlessly
Beneath the verandas of pagodas
Within the churches of the city
At the doorstep of deserted houses

Oh, Spring, the corpses deliver a scent to the rice paddies
Oh, Vietnam, the corpses breathe life into tomorrow's soil
The path forward, though full of treacherous obstacles
Because humans have already resided here

Dead bodies lying around here
Beneath the cold, pattering rain
Beside the dead bodies of the old and weak
Lie the dead bodies of the young and innocent

Which body is the body of my sibling?
Within this dark cave
Within the scorched areas
Beside the maize and sweet potato fields.

Translator's Note: The Hue Massacre was committed by the North Vietnamese Communists in 1968. The Viet Cong invaded the city on the night marking the new lunar year, and after this offensive, it is estimated that 5800 Hue civilians were killed. Trinh Cong Son, a native of Hue, wrote this song in remembrance of the victims.


Quang Dung – Tinh Nho

Composer: Trinh Cong Son
English Title: Love's Yearning
Translated By: Gigi

Love seemed to be forgotten, like a heart's struggle to remain frozen
You seemed to be so far away, yet you return so suddenly
Oh, that dress which flutters freely, has driven the evening sky away
Like every flow of water washing away the gloomy days

Love seemed to have disappeared, but love is still brimming
You seemed to have departed, but your presence still lingers around here
Every gentle footsteps that have walked across your life and made their mark
Like every pebble dropping into the heart of a vast ocean

When the pain hasn't lengthen, then love has a hint of sunlight
When the pain has risen fully, then love has already become so immense
One person returns to the summit, while the other returns to the abyss
Allowing love to sink deeper, like the birds' shadows across the mountain pass

Love seemed to wither within us, but love is still bustling
You seemed to have forgotten everything, but you are still filled with longing
Every one of those hestitant fingers that brought this love closer
Like boisterous winds by the shore bringing an end to a wandering life

You seemed to be someone of the past, but then you suddenly return
Love seemed to exist remotely, but love is actually infinite
Oh, that grieving heart has known happiness once again for a moment
Like a distant shore that just experienced drought is already submerged in rain.

Translator's Notes: I found another video of this song and the video contains a comment written by Trinh Cong Son. I decided to translate it and place it here since it seems to suit the song and will possibly allow us into the mind and heart of Trinh Cong Son, even if only for little bit.

"I will always remember and adore the age of youth, which is an age of passionate love. While I do adore the wonderful years of my life, I also cherish that piece of my life that I have already lost."
- Trinh Cong Son


Khanh Ly – Bien Nho

Composer: Trinh Cong Son
English Title: A Sea's Yearning
Translated By: Gigi

Tomorrow you will depart
The sea will be howling your name, beckoning you to return
However, only the trailing willow trees will listen
And only the empty banks of sand will respond

Tomorrow you will depart
The hills will lean slightly, and wait
Pebbles will anticipate for you every hour
As the sound of each of your desolate footsteps echoes

Tomorrow you will depart
The sea will beckon you to return to your roots
Calling forth ocean and winds, submerging your soul
My hands will shield you from the sprinkling of cold rain

Tomorrow you will depart
A city at midnight with amber lights
A lone soul, shoulders hunched back, calling forth sadness
Strong waves crashing outside, my sadness deepens

Someday you will return
My hands will extend toward the open pathway
Melodies will resound into a musical concert
Loneliness will be no more

Tomorrow you will depart
The sea will be howling your name, beckoning you to return
Drops of dew soak the dreamscape
An infinite sky clings to the towering mountains

Tomorrow you will depart
Moss-grown dunes droops down in the sadness
Streetlights grieve amidst cold rain
As clouds completely cover the sky outside

Tomorrow you will depart
Will the sea whisper your name, dazed in grief?
Through rainy days and dried months, I still mourn
My hands long for letters containing news of you

Tomorrow you will depart
A city at midnight with amber lights
Spring's shadow has already passed halfway, hesitantly
Lamenting at the whistling of the rising wind.