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Manoa 14.1 (2002) 133-134
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Would that emptiness
could be tied down to paper
Would that the unfathomable
could write in a straight line
Would that the river of stars
could fly through the lines of little words
hold all the sorrows of our passing lives.
Yellow leaves tumble
to return to each season,
Each strain of white hair
an exclamation mark
never to return.
Willingly or not, our life moves toward a point of infinity
until it falls
Fin De Siècle
keep a few lines of poem
to exist in my place
this century does not need to remain
for next century to read it as a passing sign.
Translations by Kevin Bowen and Nguyen Ba Chung
Le Bi is the given name of Hoang Chinh Nghia. He was born in 1949 in North Viet Nam and went south in 1954. An officer in the Army of the Republic of South Viet Nam, he resettled in the United States in 1975. A writer of free verse, he has published two collections of poetry, Cited Poetry and A Person's Address. He now resides in Southern California.