When the big dragonfly was in the flight over the May paddock
In two eyes engaged in hunting a certain smaller dragonfly for food ;
The little kid quit school to stroll along the edge of the paddock,
Then stopped,
and used a striker with sticky breadfruit resin
to catch the dragonfly
turned hunter
But this insect was wiser
than the kid allowed it to be:
it is quickly moved elsewhere
The kid did not give in, he took the small dragonfly as bait
Which enjoyd a measure of freedoom
at the end of the string in the hand of the kid
The dragonfly turned hunter was not good enough to avoid the string
It alighted on the victim,
then lifted it up to its mouth
The kid spun back the string,
took the dragonfly by its tail
He burst out laughing,
Here you are, say goodbye to your freedoom
I spent the whole morning to search for the truthful meaning of life
Looking at germinating seeds washed in by the rain last night
This morning I met the kid who quit school for a stroll
The sun was high, near the red flower thicket he dug the earth to butry
the insect
It's no longer in life, its body cut to bits
Ah! Returning to dust,
it no longer cared if there was still light in the world
The little kid used to feel sad when evening came
He was sick with learning,
he scorned to hear the teacher's words anymore
He now asked me,
What is the use of all this miserable business
And tell me,
you are old enough,
why do you waste time with the kid's play
Why did you borrow my sling and you hid behind the gourd plant
Throwing little stones atthe bee hovering from flower to flower?
(And tell me,
you kept the light on all night,
did you study inside the mosquito net)

You had a funny face ,
to see the broken wings of a bee
You still had a funny face,
when another bee stung you
You shrugged,
you'll die anyway, little insect
But surely you must be curious why it stung you so savagely
I know the meaning of life already, my boy
It died and its death taught me courage
Death of life really makes very little difference
The dragonfly hunter had no choice ,
but to live on a smaller one
It died because of you,
and no other fellow insect took to revenge its death
It was not the same with bees,
it was not the same with ants either
I live by myself ,
I have no worry whatsoever,
because I do not expect anything from anyone
We are bees.
We are ants.
We are dragonflies.
We are full of hatred and consciousness of death
But let's face it,
you are not old enough to grasp,
why I'm still nursing my deep wound....

July 16, 1963.


Đại Nam Văn Hiến Books, Saigon 1964.

translated from the vietnamese by DAM XUAN CAN .

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