Tô Thuỳ Yên | The scum of life (9)


By Tô Thuỳ Yên, translation by Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm


The scum of life


Long ago there are those who sleep away their afternoons

Dreaming about nothing at all

Upon nightfall, left without a trace

The mountain cliffs scrubbed smooth

So it’s less heartless?

Who dropped the bamboo walking stick on the side of the road?

Dogs howling at the evening moon

The water bay, a wilderness

The eerie call of the ferryman

The bay stretching out in delusions

Beyond vision is the wandering spectre 

Obscuring a prayer yet to come into light

Noisily questioning an impalpable fate

The frightful wildfires

Birds scattered in the blinding air

A time in history which had put you under its spell

You’re a hobo, a bum, a vagabond…

A battered ghost, slipping out of the back door

Scattered with holes through the once upon a time shiny lapel

A soul dotted…

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