Poem by Jacques Nguyen Hieu Liem

Introduced by Thomas D. Le

This summer is the epitome of serenity and tranquillity. Imagine yourself lying in the field amidst the green grass, the wind that caresses your face, the sun whose darting rays gently warm your body, and all the teeming life surrounding you with chirpings, twitterings, murmurrings, buzzings, and songs.

How you long for an escape from daily cares to enjoy for a few fleeting moments the peace and abandon that summer can bring about!

You are ready for a lazy day, freed at last from hectic activities, and at peace with the world without and the world within. If there is an escape from workaday concerns, this must be it.

Liem knows how to wrest some happy moments by simply letting himself go, lying in the grass, perhaps chewing on a stalk of wheat, and listening to the insects buzzing about, and the chirping crickets around him.

He looks at the deep, blue sky extending to infinity. And in a flash, his mind flies off to some unknown horizons, lost without thought of return, into the mysterious blue yonder!

And you feel deep down the urge to drop everything so you can wander into this wonderful world that invites exploration and contemplation. Then do yourself a favor by doing just that. Work will catch up with you later. But for now, catch this magical feeling of freedom, inner peace, and happiness, that are in such short supply in the daily crush of the materialistic world.


Dans l'herbe verte et tendre,
Je viens souvent m'étendre
Offrant avec paresse
Mon visage aux caresses
Du vent et du soleil,
Et alors je sommeille.

Une douce chaleur
Pénètre dans mon corps
Et j'oublie mes malheurs
Et mes peines encore.

J'écoute les doux chants
Des oiseaux dans les champs.
Au vent les herbes dansent
Et les blés se balancent.
Les abeilles bourdonnent
Et le grillon fredonne.

Et je perds la raison
Dans quelques horizons
Vagues et mystérieux
Aux cieux merveilleux.

Jacques Nguyen Hieu Liem
July 2001

Ha. Mô.ng

Trên co? non ðu'o'.m mô.t màu xanh ngát
Tôi thu'o'`ng hay lu'o'`i biê'ng ngã lu'ng na`m
Gió hiu hiu mo'n tró'n ma(.t thì thâ`m
Na'ng nhè nhe. dìu tôi yên giâ'c ngu?.

Ho'i â'm di.u ðã xuyên qua thân cu~
Hê't nho.c nha`n tan ra? mo.i buô`n ðau
Nghe véo von chim hát giu'~a ðô`ng cao
Và co? lúa cu~ng thi nhau nh?y múa.

Dê' ra? rích hòa cùng ong võ ve?
Tôi bê`nh bô`ng trong tâm thê? mông lung
Nghe lâng lâng la.c ne?o cõi trò'i hô`ng
Mo' màng ða'm hô`n say trong Ha. Mô.ng.

Traduit par Lý Lãng Nhân
Août 2002


Upon the lush green, tender grass
I often come to laze around,
And rest my face on the paillasse
To the caress and to the sound
Of gentle sun and wind yonder,
And sink into a deep slumber.

The sweet and comfortable heat
Spreads through and through my body whole.
And I forget my woes complete
Along with all that pains my soul.

I listen to the sweet, sweet song
All those gay birds in the fields sing.
The wind-swept grasses dance along
Swaying the wheat to which they cling.
The bees all flit and buzz about,
The crickets too twitter aloud.

I let my mind wander around
To some horizons far away,
Hazy and vague and mystery-bound,
The wondrous sky o'er yonder way.

Translated by Thomas D. Le
17 August 2002

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