Eversky.org A Dose of Asian Pop Culture & Entertainment

14Oct/100

Khanh Ly – Toi Dang Mo Giac Mong Dai

Composer: Pham Duy
Poet: Le Lan
English Title: I am Dreaming a Vast Dream
Translated By: Gigi

I am dreaming a vast dream.
To the world around me, please don't wake me.

I am seeing a color of green,
Upon a leafy branch, drifting down onto me.
I am seeing a color of pink,
At every corner of the street, penetrating my soul,
From the refreshing sunrise to the fragrant sunset.
A breezy wind brings the essence of life,
Into me, filling my heart.

I hear the sound of happiness from every region,
Overcoming the endless night toward the stars in the sky.
I hear the sound of people's beating hearts,
A worried beat seeking the sweetness of life.
And as I look into my own heart, this love is blooming,
Blooming into many splendid birds.

Life, please don't stir me from my slumber.
I am still young and innocent, so let me dream once more.

15Sep/100

Khanh Ly – Vung Lay Cua Chung Ta

Composer: Le Uyen Phuong
English Title: Our Own Swamp
Translated By: Gigi

I followed you into the city this afternoon,
My mind still dizzy from the intoxication.
I followed you through every hint of pain,
While the sun is rising presently outside.
We relinquished every last drop of passion,
Even granted each other a taste of bitterness.
We surrendered our innocence, through our passionate lips,
Through our hands, and with our legs, we both walk,
Towards a love filled with sorrow. A somber love.

We loved each other amidst a crowd of strangers,
Following the stream of water that twist and turn.
We walked past an empty city, holding our dried hearts.
Wandering aimlessly in the city, holding our ragged hearts.

I followed you into the city the next afternoon,
My shoulders still aching from the weariness.
I followed you through every hint of pain,
While the sun is rising presently outside.
We relinquished every last drop of passion,
Even granted each other a taste of bitterness.
We surrendered our innocence, through our passionate lips,
Through our hands, and with our legs, we both walk,
Towards a love filled with sorrow. A somber love.

Let it pass, let it pass, ending the passion.
Throwing this sorrowful love onto a staggering pile.
Let it pass, let it pass, ending the intoxication.
This love, this love will soon change.

I live within a muddy swamp.
One day I'm buried in pain, I'm still buried deep, buried deep.
Amidst my own depression, I couldn't end the shamefulness.
I live within a muddy swamp.
One day I'm buried in pain, I'm still buried deep, buried deep.
Amidst my own depression, I couldn't end the pain.

16Jul/100

Khanh Ly – Nguoi Ve Bong Nho

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Composer: Trinh Cong Son
English Title: Reminiscing as I Return
Translated By: Gigi

'Twas Spring when I loved you, the mountains appeared spacious
Crystal-clear lakes sparkled like a thousand golden wings
The day I loved you, the leaves colored green with youth
Waiting for Autumn to arrive before withering
A flock of birds by the river shed their wings every evening
A person sitting by the shore recalls the past

The world seemed gloomy, the months and days seemed desolate
Thought I saw you pass by beneath the flag's shadow
Then I hear the cheering of the mountains around me
I wait for the sun the rise before leaving
My footsteps tread far, I reminisce as I return
Every night I hear the wind whistle so calmly.

16Jul/100

Khanh Ly – Ngay Dai Tren Que Huong

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Composer: Trinh Cong Son
English Title: A Long Day in Motherland
Translated By: Gigi

An old person within a park,
An insane person within a city,
A person lying down without breathing,
A person sitting hearing bombs explode.

A person sitting for twenty years,
Watching a flare illuminating at night.
A group of children desensitized to sights of war.
Our people lie down with wounds within them.

Our motherland rests for twenty years,
With its fragile flesh and bones,
Waiting for the land to be blessed.
A golden pigment on our soft skins.
We must cherish the color of our country.

A long day in motherland,
A day in Viet Nam is so devastating.
A rice field brazen by the reddened land.
A herd of buffaloes won't plow the grass.

A long day in motherland.
Our people forgot that they're alive.
A prison that nourishes the people.
Our people miss their home.

The days are long and worrisome,
And every night, war torments us.
Our people appear so strange.
Our people look at each other with hatred.

A prison within motherland.
Our people have forgotten their race.
Every day we build upon our resentments.
Every day we crush the marks of war.

Our motherland rests for twenty years,
With its fragile flesh and bones,
Waiting for the land to be blessed.
A golden pigment on our soft skins.
We must cherish the color of our country.

A long day in motherland.
That group of children have matured.
An old person look on with grief,
Waiting for the cold breeze to calm.

A person sitting for twenty years.
A bittersweet moment with a glass of wine.
How can a Vietnamese person not have golden skin.
How can a mother not miss her deceased children.

Translator's Notes: The "we" in this song is the Vietnamese people. Trinh Cong Son uses the words "người Việt" (meaning: Vietnamese people) in almost every line and I translated it as "our people" since this song is for the Vietnamese people. By doing so, I hope the the readers can immerse themselves in this song and truly understand the emotions that Trinh Cong Son was conveying. The last two lines in this song are rhetorical questions and so I did not end them with a question mark.

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

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.