Not a Post

The Allies found murdered civilians as we took Hue back after Tet 1968.  Next year we will review the history.

At the time Pham Duy composed a direct response. Khanh Ly still sings it.

I am not a plant or a tree!

I am not a post or a stone!

So I weep for our Viet Nam, for three long generations

Robbed of joy.

I’m not a random passerby,

I’m not a fellow from some other clan,

So I weep for one, not far away, fallen on the battlefield

While still a youth.

Don’t disguise it with the sound of singing,

Don’t think you need a pair of tinted glasses,

Look unblinking at our ruined countryside;

Count one by one the bodies of our guiltless dead;

Rage against these fratricidal battles;

Weep in spirit even if your well of tears is dry.

Know enough to grieve; know enough to be ashamed!

For our hills and streams are covered in a pall of black.

I cannot stand by indifferently!

I cannot stand here in silence!

So I scream into the void words more terrible

Than guns or bombs.

I cannot stand by with muted mouth!

I cannot have ears that hear no sound!

Therefore I weep, and shall lose my senses till the day

That peace returns.

[Translation by Eric Henry of Toi khong phai la go da by Pham Duy.]

Viet Nam Literature Project blogs about our encyclopedia, our comics and translations as we develop our university program. Donors receive our print newsletter and annual comic book.

2 thoughts on “Not a Post”

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