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Ho Chi Minh, Poems Written While In Prison | Poem

 
 


Ho Chi Minh
Poems From Prison - Translatedby KennethRexroth
 
ACOMRADESPAPER BLANKET

Newbooks,old books,
theleavesall piled together.

Apaperblanket
isbetterthan no blanket.

Youwhosleep like princes,
shelteredfrom the cold,

Doyou knowhow many men in prison
cannotsleep all night?

 
AUTUMNNIGHT

Beforethegate, a guard
witharifle on his shoulder.

Inthe sky,the moon flees
throughclouds.

Swarmingbed bugs,
likeblackarmy tanks in the night.

Squadronsof mosquitoes,
likewavesof attacking planes.

Ithinkof my homeland.
IdreamI can fly far away.

IdreamI wander trapped
inwebsof sorrow.

Ayear hascome to an end here.
Whatcrimedid I commit?

IntearsI write
anotherprison poem.

 
CLEARMORNING

Themorningsun
shinesover the prison wall,

Anddrivesaway the shadows
andmiasmaof hopelessness.

Alife-givingbreeze
blowsacrossthe earth.

Ahundredimprisoned faces
smileoncemore.

 
COLDNIGHT

Autumnnight.
Nomattress.No covers.

Nosleep.Body and legs
huddleup and cramp.

Themoonshines
onthefrost-covered banana leaves.

Beyondmybars
theGreatBear swings on the Pole.

 

GOODDAYSCOMING

Everythingchanges, the wheel
ofthelaw turns without pause.

Aftertherain, good weather.

Inthe winkof an eye

Theuniversethrows off
itsmuddycloths.

Fortenthousand miles
thelandscape

Spreadsout like
abeautifulbrocade.

Gentlesunshine.
Lightbreezes.Smiling flowers,

Hanginthe trees, amongst the
sparklingleaves,

Allthebirds sing at once.

Menandanimals rise up reborn.

Whatcouldbe more natural?

Aftersorrowcomes happiness.

And one after being released from prison.
 
FREE,IWALK ON THE MOUNTAIN
ANDENJOYTHE VIEW

Mountains.Clouds.
Moremountains.More clouds.

Farbelowa river gleams,
brightand unspotted.

Alone,withbeating heart,
Iwalkon the Western Range,

Andgazefar off towards the South
andthinkof my comrades.

KennethRexroth
Home toMoongate

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