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Nhat Truong & Dang The Luan – Bien Man

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Composer: Tran Thien Thanh
English Title: Salty Sea
Translated by: Gigi

As high as Truong Son, (1)
Nurturing love and care, the water exits from its source.
Searching for the Eastern Sea,
love becomes the waves of the Pacific Ocean.
And every misty night, the waves' claps return,
lulling the homeland to sleep.
But the homeland hasn't slept, not when bombs and bullets
everywhere are humiliating in the crops in the water.

I awake every tender night,
yet I can hear the salt mingling in my heart.
Mother is the Mother Ocean,
crying out from the front bank to the back waterfall.
The years pass by quickly (2), the wind of the salty sea
nourished me into a wise person.
Then at the age of twenty-one, I joined the army,
but my heart hasn't loved anybody yet.

My lover, I only recently met her.
When the army made a stop in a region that was welcoming autumn.
The desolate region, shadows of the coconut, the vast shore of sand.
Wind rises every golden evening; she let loose her hair on the blue ocean.
My lover used to always cry during the evening rain,
when the blue color of the salty sea chiseled into colors of clouds.
She said, "Because I love you, I want our story to be blue like
the color of the sea of love in a really, really pretty morning sky."

I came and left.
Away from my life is the long-lasting war.
Devoted to this life as a young man,
overcoming the vast moor hiding and sheltering the blue sea.
A beauty that's similar to what's inside a painting,
the mud-covered heels helped the rice paddies grow greener.
In every countless army missions, I passed by a dried region.
My sweat becomes the salty sea on my lips.

Translation Notes
(1) What I don't understand is whether or not the composer said the mountain (Truong Son) is really high or that the water is as high as the mountain. I went with the second meaning.
(2) The original Vietnamese phrase is "tui troi qua mau" in which "tui troi" means "age of Heaven (or sky)" and "qua mau" meaning "pass by quickly." It's a poetic phrase with "tui troi" acting as a metaphor for the years of a person's life.

Comments (3) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Would you be so kind and help me find the Vietnamese lyrics of this song please? I tried looking on Google and no luck. I am half Vietnamese and I would like to one day learn how to sing it.

    Thanks for translating though, now I know the meaning of the lyrics.

  2. Suzanne, here’s the Vietnamese lyrics.

    Biển Mặn

    Cao ngất Trường Sơn, ôm ấp tình thương nước ra sông nguồn
    Tìm về biển Đông, tình yêu thành sóng Thái Bình Dương
    Rồi từng đêm sương, sóng vỗ về ru giấc quê hương
    Nhưng quê hương chưa ngủ, khi bom đạn tơi bời còn nhục nhằn dưới ruộng trên nương.

    Tôi thức từng đêm thơ ấu, mà nghe muối pha trong lòng
    Mẹ là mẹ Trùng Dương, gào than từ bãi trước ghềnh sau
    Tuổi trời qua mau, gió biển mặn nuôi lớn khôn tôi
    Nên năm hăm mốt tuổi, tôi đi vào quân đội mà lòng thì chưa hề yêu ai.

    Người yêu tôi, tôi mới quen mà thôi
    Lúc dừng quân trên vùng vừa tiếp thu
    Vùng hoang vu bóng dừa bờ cát dài
    Gió lên từng chiều vàng nàng xõa tóc trên biển xanh
    Người yêu tôi hay khóc trong chiều mưa
    Lúc màu xanh biển mặn đục sắc mây
    Bảo yêu anh em muốn chuyện đôi mình
    Như màu xanh biển tình trong ngày trời xinh rất xinh.

    Tôi đến lại đi, xa vắng đời tôi chiến chinh lâu dài
    Miệt mài đời trai, vượt truông dài che khuất biển xanh
    Đẹp tựa trong tranh, gót bùn lầy cho lúa thêm xanh
    Trong bao lần quân hành, tôi qua vùng khô cặn
    Mồ hôi thành biển mặn trên môi.

  3. “tiếp thu” is a verb means to occupy, to seize or to take control. The wind of the salty sea nourished me into a wise person: the phrase “nourished me into a wise person” is completely wrong. “Nuôi lá»›n” is a verb simply means to feed someone until adulthood. There are so many other mistakes of misinterpretation. I suggest you should learn more Vietnamese.

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