- Publisher: Publishing House of Writers' Association, Hanoi, Vietnam
- Editor: Nguyen Quang Thieu and Hu'u Thinh
- Edition: First Edition
- Available in: Paperback
- ISBN: None
- Published: January 20, 2015
This anthology brings together a collection of poems of peace, drawing on a seven-hundred-year-old lyric tradition, ranging from Nguyen Trai (1380-1442) to Nguyen Bing Phuong (b. 1965). Most of the poems are translated by Nguyen Ba Chung and Bruce Weigl. I am honored to have my co-translation (with Nguyen Ba Chung) of Tran Dang Khoa’s Letter to Mother included.
Peace is precious, three words that were carved on precious wood and red lacquer trimmed with gold, put in themes formal places and respected for generations. That is a beautiful philosophy of life, a special ideology of Vietnam and the Orient. Throughout time it becomes the measure of kindness . . . . It rejects the philosophy of venerating power, using violence to deter and conquer other nations as the only way to solve difficulties in the world. It must be because we are a nation that has been through the pain of war that we have a burning desire for peace.
— Poet Hu’u Thinh, Chairman of Vietnam Writers’ Association, from his Preface
From Letter to Mother, by Tran Dang Khoa
. . . When the night settles
over the house
over the garden
over the sky. . .
night warm and smooth as silk, leave the door ajar.
Through the house a wind will sing the love of sky and cloud,
and bring you to sleep’s sweet arms, unaware your son has slipped in,
found his way home on airs which wander the earth seeking
only to soothe the mothers who have lost their sons.