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The poem(s) are below...


Living in Reverse

I live in a town where all things go in
reverse. The bushes grow reversely,
shrink smaller back into seeds, and roll back
into the past-life seeds. The river flows

reversely, very swiftly. My friends,
my nephews and nieces, my siblings, and
my parents walk reversely, and
steadily become smaller, younger.

Helplessly, I stand, watch, and cannot grasp
things back. The brains think reversely
into the prehistory; the handwritten
pages decrease, turning reversely for

never being lost. The ruined house of the
neighbor girl is built reversely, becoming
back the house of her young days. The
voices, familiar and unknown, talk

reversely into the afternoons and
noons and nights, calling up the wronged ghost
of a priest whose enlightened shout wakes up
the legendary copperhead, which slithers

and crushes a corner of the forest. A
tornado blows reversely, peels away
the layer of sedimentary rocks,
and shows thousands of ancient cities, where

millions of bricks become new again to
build countless clusters of towers, and where
the waving hands, smiling lips, colorful
clothes, villages, crow’s cries, and flocks of birds

fly reversely into the sunshine arc.
I solely stand, lonely.

Translated into English by Phan Tan Hai
Original poem titled "Song Lui" -- written in Vietnamese by Inrasara.

Copyright © Hai Phan | Year Posted 2022


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Date: 7/3/2022 10:22:00 AM

Hi "Living in reverse" is a touching poem. To begin with, could feel a lonely pen uncapping to light sans any hesitation. The inclusion of a mishap in the sixth stanza undulates the write up. Humor enthralls in the fifth stanza - "wronged ghost of a priest" Tumult of friendship reflects in fourth stanza. Third stanza witness the poet's wisdom. Too have a family.
Date: 6/29/2022 4:17:00 PM

Cleverly reflected.It is also interesting to read in a reverse order.
Date: 6/29/2022 11:14:00 AM

Sweet translation Hai!