Eversky.org A Dose of Asian Pop Culture & Entertainment

16Jul/100

Khanh Ly – Dai Bac Ru Dem

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Composer: Trinh Cong Son
English Title: Artillery's Lullaby at Night
Translated By: Gigi

Night after night, the artillery shells descend into town.
A street sweeper halts his broom to silently listen.
As the shells drop, a mother wakes from her slumber.
As the shells drop, a child lets out an innocent cry.
Bright flames pierce the dark night over the mountains.

Night after night, the artillery shells descend into town.
A street sweeper halts his broom to silently listen.
After each round, a child awakens with fright.
A shelter collapses. Oh, the piles of flesh!
Each night its flames blinds the face of our land.

Thousands of bombs explode by the village gates.
Like rain, the bombs poured onto the rice fields.
A house burns crimson at the end of the street.
Endless grenades, claymores that the trucks carry.
Endless stores they carry throughout our town.
Bones scattered everywhere, our mothers', our loved ones'.

Night after night, the artillery shells descend into town.
A street sweeper halts his broom to silently listen.
Night after night, I can hear the future trembling.
Shells, like prayers, but they don't bring salvation.
A child barely alive listens to the sounds every night.

Night after night, the artillery shells descend into town.
A street sweeper halts his broom to silently listen.
Each night, the artillery shells sing our people to sleep.
Their familiar sounds, like a refrain from a sad folk song.
Our children have yet to mature to catch a glimpse of home.

14Jul/102

Khanh Ly – Phoi Pha

Composer: Trinh Cong Son
English Title: Withered Away
Translated By: Gigi

I embrace the heart of the night
Gazing at the new moon, now returning
Remembering those footsteps of the past
Oh, how ephemeral
Every youthful spring has now aged
I pass by the shore one day
Life is like the passing wind

I have no one left
The road back seems infinitely long
Those nights away from you
Bitter wine filled the glasses
I constantly drink this life away
To relinquish every bit of happiness
For the world that's waiting

I return only to wait each day
Watching the sun shines its luminous rays
Watching the raindrops fall endlessly
Is there anyone who's been away only to return?
To return to the end of the skies
To become the drifting clouds

Just return to where you came
The road on this life is but nothing
How many seasons have passed?
There are many times
From the midnight garden, footsteps arrive
Footsteps so silent, but from whom?
Within my soul, I envision the past.

14Jul/100

Khanh Ly – Hay Song Gium Toi

Composer: Trinh Cong Son
English Title: Live for Me
Translated By: Gigi

Live for me; speak for me; breathe for me.
This flesh is saved for the act of vengeance,
For madness, for ambition, of a pack of lunatics.

Live for me; speak for me; breathe for me.
This heart is saved for the crimson fire,
For peace, for the people who are still struggling.

Can anybody hear the voices of the Vietnamese people?
Who yearn only for peace within the dismal night,
Who yearn for the day where warmth will embrace their souls.

Live for me; speak for me; breathe for me.
It's been so long, why are you still waiting?
Why are you still sitting, silently sleeping, my brothers?

Live for me; speak for me; breathe for me.
What else is there to see besides the ravaging flames of war?
My people, how can you rejoice being nothing but beggars?

14Jul/100

Khanh Ly – Ngu Di Con

Composer: Trinh Cong Son
English Title: Sleep, My Child
Translated By: Gigi

Oh, please sleep. Sleep, my sweet child.
Mother's own child, with your skin of gold.
I'm soothing you to sleep, soothing your bullet wound dyed crimson.
For twenty years, a group of children became soldiers.
They left, but never returned, so did my golden-skinned child.
Sleep, my child.

I have sung a lullaby for you once, now twice already.
Oh, this body that was so small and frail long ago.
I carried you in my womb; I held you in my arms.
Oh, why must you sleep at the age of twenty?

Oh, please sleep. Sleep, my sweet child.
Mother's very own child emerged into this world,
On your lips echoed a sound of grief and pain.
For twenty years, that group of children matured.
Entering the battlefield, my golden-skinned child of antiquity.
Sleep, my child.

I have sung a lullaby for you once, now you lay into dust.
Oh, which injury was it that carved deeply into your warm skin?
Mother's own flesh and blood, that I have reared from dusk to dawn
Oh, why must you sleep at the age of twenty?

Oh, my child sleeps at the age of twenty.
Oh, why must you sleep at the age of twenty?
Oh, my child sleeps at the age of twenty.

Translator's Notes: At the beginning of the video, Khanh Ly discussed about the Viet Nam war. One particular comment caught my interest so I've decided to translate it to English:

"People can easily forget the feeling of happiness. However, when it comes to the feeling of sorrow and sadness, once it becomes a wound, even if it heals, it will leave a scar on the skin and in the hearts of the Vietnamese people."
— Khanh Ly

14Jul/100

Trinh Cong Son – Nguoi Con Gai Viet Nam

Composer: Trinh Cong Son
English Title: Vietnamese Girl
Translated By: Gigi

Young Vietnamese girl, with skin of gold,
Who loved our homeland like the fields of grain,
Young Vietnamese girl, with skin of gold,
Who loved our homeland, as tears wet her cheeks.

Young Vietnamese girl, with skin of gold,
Who loved our homeland, its people, even the weak,
Who once sat there dreaming of peace,
Who's proud of our homeland like she is of her own being.

She's never known our homeland in peace.
She's never seen Viet Nam in the old days.
She's never sung the Vietnamese folk songs once.
She only possesses a resentful heart.

The young girl passed by the village one day,
Walking in the night, the sound of gunshots echoed,
She suddenly clutched her heart,
On her soft skin emerged a bleeding wound.

Young Vietnamese girl, with skin of gold,
Who loved our homeland like the fields of grain,
Young Vietnamese girl, with skin of gold,
Who loved our homeland that no longer exists.

Oh, the countless heartless deaths!
Oh, darkness befall our country for a thousand years.
Once, she visited our homeland alone.
And I still search for our homeland alone.

1Mar/101

Khanh Ly – Doa Hoa Vo Thuong

Composer: Trinh Cong Son
English Title: Evanescent Blossom
Translated By: Gigi

I search for you, my dear, slender and frail
I search in the mountains, an ethereal flower
A fleeting smile, a delicate soul
Those fragrant lips, a blank page anew

I search for you, my dear, soothing my own heart
Searching for a night afresh, a pristine day
A flying bird in the flock, with a dewdrop in its mouth
I search on the riverbeds, for your slipper's imprints

I search for you near and far, within earth and heaven
I search within the rosy mist, within the ephemeral evening
Until the end of the waning moon, I shall not despair, my dear
Within impermanance, I search for a duo prayer, resounding thunder strikes

Then I suddenly found you standing by the primitive spring
I invited you home, night covered in pure rain
Your presence emanates, scent of incense in four corners
Within the garden, rain diminishes, joyful music begins
The golden moon greets the epiphyllum blossom

From now on, I have the one
You, who chatters and walks beside me on this world
From now on, I have love
You, my cherished one, beaming with words
Because of you, I am complete
In you I am, when you sit by the front porch

Winter brings you sorrow
At sunset, you sing prayers by the river
Winter withers, water rises
A budding love has flourished

From now on, I have my sweetheart
To the mountains and rivers, I offer my song
Spring passes over rooftops
There's a singing bird named Love

A rosy lotus bud, you sat by a time
A time when we both loved, a time of both joy and sorrow
From soaring sunrise, until tender nights
Rosy lotus of a time, you were rosy in your youth
Lonely lotus, you loved completely with grief

One evening you stood by the river
The autumn breeze tenderly blows
Carrying the words of prayer to the mountains
Your final loving confession

A time of love has passed
Your rosy steps want to leave
Leaving my entire world shattered
You must return to where you came from

Since then, in the midnight garden
Your dress of the past
Like a tiny fluff of ephemeral cloud
Swiftly drifting through my life

Since then, within my soul
A lamenting sound of the bell
The horse's neigh, deep in the forest
Resounding through earth and heaven

Since then, I sat dazed
Watching on a distant road
A carriage ride destined
To the scene of parting

Since then, I lay wounded
In the mountains, and in the passes
Faint impermanence follows
With each passing minute

Since then, the flower that is you
Of a deep rosy hue at dawn
Blossoms wholly at dusk to
Wait for the wind of impermanence

Since then, you are the mist
Falling freshly at sunrise
Since then, I am the night
That flourishes into an evanescent blossom.

24Feb/100

Khanh Ly – Diem Xua

Composer: Trinh Cong Son
English Title: Diem of the Past
Translated By: Gigi

The rain still falls on the ancient temple
Your slender long arms, your pale eyes
Autumn leaves fall, the sound of soft footsteps
My eyes look to the distance, straining to see

The rain still falls on the piles of small leaves
In the afternoon I sit and gaze at the passing rain
Leaves silently fall upon your footsteps
Coldness suddenly invades my soul, leaving me shivering

The evening rain still falls, so why don't you come?
Memories in the midst of a buried pain
How can we have each other, marks of pain appear
I beg you to return soon

The rain still falls, life's like a boisterous sea
How do you remember the traces the migrating birds left behind?
Please let the rain pass over this vast region
So the wanderer can forget he's wandering

The rain still falls, life's like a boisterous sea
How do you know that a gravestone feels no pain?
Please let the rain pass over this vast region
Even the stones will need each other for the days to come.

Translator's Notes: Khanh Ly first sang this song in 1967 when she was 23 years old.

24Feb/102

Khanh Ly – Nhu Canh Vac Bay

Composer: Trinh Cong Son
English Title: Like the Wings of a Flying Crane
Translated By: Gigi

Is the sun as crimson as your lips?
Is the rain as sorrowful as your eyes?
Your hair of tiny strands
Falling upon this world to form ripples

The wind will rejoice at your hair swaying
Causing the soft clouds to rest upon your shoulders
Your shoulders so thin and slender
Like the wings of a crane flying towards the distance

Is the sun still jealous of your lips?
Is the rain still sad within your crystal eyes?
Ever since I accompanied you home
I knew we would be apart forever

The spring greets each of your passing steps
Leaves serenade from your fragrant hands
Leaves wither because they're waiting
Just like life is forever gloomy

Is the day joyful where you're returning to?
Is the sky blue where you're returning to?
I listen to the sound of a thousand tears
Falling, transforming into a luminous lake.

Translator's Note: At the beginning of the video, Khanh Ly discussed about her meeting with Trinh Cong Son in 1967 where he showed her the song "Nhu Canh Vac Bay." He told her of a beautiful memory he had while he was in Da Lat. He and another young lady, her identity unknown, were taking a walk in the forest and stopped by a small spring. He rested by a tree and he watched her walk beside the spring. He continued to watch her as the golden sunlight shone on her slender hair and across her entire body. The wind was blowing causing her hair and her dress to flutter aimlessly in the wind. He cherished that beautiful memory and thus, wrote the song "Nhu Canh Vac Bay."

24Feb/100

Khanh Ly – Nhu Mot Loi Chia Tay

Composer: Trinh Cong Song
English Title: Like Words of Farewell
Translated By: Gigi

All my rendezvous now ended
I'm as light as a cloud
A speck of sunlight has just hurried off
Closing each joyful night

Familiar streets wait from morning to evening
For footsteps from the olden days that pass uncertain
How can you know each private life
Just to love more and with more passion?

A rose from the past falls again
Beside my life
A bit of love leaves like a swift breeze
I suddenly recognize myself

I want one moment to thank life
That's given me some passion
At times I lie down and hear laughter
But it was just a dream

Love's like light that dissipates at sunset
Love's not far but not really near
Love's like a rock full of endless longing
Love's indefinite, so why am I sad and worried?

I remember the whispering each night
Seems like it was only drunkenness now
Delicate golden flowers at the edge of the sky
Like words of farewell.

20Feb/102

Trinh Cong Son – Mot Coi Di Ve

Composer: Trinh Cong Son
English Title: A Place to Leave from and Return to
Translated By: Gigi

For many years I have wandered
Going around in circles, growing weary
On my shoulders the sun and the moon
Lighting a lifetime, a place to leave from and return to

What words are from trees, what words are from the grass
One afternoon of pleasure, one life that is light
A day passes
First spring decays, then summer withers as well
One early autumn, one hears horses returning
To a place far away

Clouds cover overhead and the sun hangs on shoulders
My footsteps walk away, the river stays behind
From the spirit of love comes a sudden calling
Within myself a human shadow appears

This rain I'm hearing reminds me of the rain long ago
It falls within me, one small drop after another
Years without end and never a reunion
One doesn't know which place is home

Roads twist around a circle of misery and sadness
On one side is budding grass, on the other dreams
Of the past
Each sunset's call is also from the grave
In the river stream one hears the call
Of the ocean

While I return I remember myself leaving
I climb the high mountains, cross the wide-open sea
My arms have not yet covered the span of the world
In the spring of life a desolate wind blows

Today I drink for life and stay up late
Tomorrow I regret the springtime I have lost.