Lonely Journey of Thousand Miles
On my way back to mind emptiness,
I still hear the past flooding the dying sun;
I am still in love with the times of the wild:
Hoarding in the depth of the eyes the thousands of midnight stars
Stepping on the sun’s rays on the hillside of the pass,
I hear the suffering soul of the grass withering along with twilight,
Which, so charming in its original form,
All of a sudden turns into infinite solitude,
Leaving behind only a corner of a lonely mountain;
For thousands of years I keep waiting for the summit.
Hidden by the side of the pass is erected a shrine for wandering souls,
In the middle of the sky are perching illusionary images of flickering lanterns.
While old trees are casting long widespread crawling shadows,
I embrace the wild grass, lost in reverie.
Thousands of years of waiting wearies me,
The shadow of a lonely man tramping the crepuscule
Since I have exposed my soul of stone to the harsh sun
While embracing the reeds to cover up all sadness.
Where have I been since the beginning of time?
While around me leaves have changed their colors,
I suddenly hear the stirring of a living breath:
Gleaming somewhere in the reeds is somebody’s soul.
The immensely tall summit overlooks
Forests, clouds, extremely dark green and quiet.
Since the time I rolled out my clothes onto the dusty rainy roads,
I thought I could latch on to my previous existence at the berth of Void.
On my way back home, while tilting our hats for a good-bye,
We still promise to wait for each other in the reeds at the hillside of the pass:
Immersed in existential miseries since the very beginning,
Our future incarnations must wander about amidst the misfortunes of life.
As darkness befalls and forest rains pour down torrentially,
On the precarious rocky cliff road threatening to tilt the sky,
Wretchedly I walk like a specter throughout the century,
Urging others to jointly complete the cycle of samsara
Across cities where on horseback we carry on our journey
Past this place where gather in groups devils and ghosts,
Up and down following the flood due to blind eyes,
Stepping on rolling pebbles and sliding sand,
Slumping upon cascades filled up with blood:
Existential body is the body of leaves of grass bending to the bumpy road,
Waiting for the rain to let up so I can roll out the moon for a sleeping mat
And white flowers can blossom on the hill thousands of years later.
Leaving love behind with the leaves of grass in the forests,
I return to the cities that call up loyalty,
Giving up ephemeral existence laid bare onto my soul of stone
Deep in the dense fog piled up with a multitude of layers of dew.
Once being a pebble
In the sun that flows onto a rivulet and
Alongside an old stalk of reed that remains quietly pensive,
I was inquired about my age.
As my steps agitate the grass,
Empty mind I reach as I persist in proceeding:
Never ending lie forests like dreams
In witness of accumulating smoky clouds.
Existential body follows one another day after day,
Obfuscated in the superfluous images of the flying forest leaves,
Continuing the old trodden road near the rocky cliff
Paradoxically imprinted with marks of errant conduct.
On your way back, bear in mind to tighten up the ribbon of your conic hat,
The rain being freezing cold; the pass, elevated where no world of humankind is found.
Poems by Tuệ Sỹ
Translated by Bạch Xu�n Phẻ
Edited by Professor Nguyễn Văn Th�i