Dạ Thảo Phương

Country: Vietnam
Language(s): Vietnamese

She is a small calf
With eyes as deep as her mother’s.
The rain of the early July morning
Stirs the mud around her heavy hooves
Releasing the thick smell of mud and last year’s dung.

This flesh that her mother cares for
They treat with whips and boughs
With shovels and hoe handles
With any thing they have got at random
that can make her bleed.

She carries secret love in her large eyes
She doesn’t try to escape, doesn’t even dodge the blows
Sometimes she moans
But that is to please the people
Her suffering breathes resignation and endurance
Huge endurance
That even the women of this land do not possess.

She takes the sunset for mother
She takes the kitchen smoke for mother
She runs until noon is transformed into a meadow
Rising before our grateful eyes.

Translated by Ngô Tự Lập and Joseph Duemer