Quê Hương (My country)

 

 Version française

 

Quê Hương,

these are the first words that we learned from our teacher at the school. We have to love Quê Hương, that is what our teacher repeated everyday. This sometimes puzzled us when we were still attending school. Why do we have to love Quê Hương? It has nothing extraordinary. It has only a name. We do not see it. We do not even manage to feel its presence in Vietnam. Sometimes, we would like to deny it because it identifies poverty and misery. However it is like our mother, unique to each of us. It is live and irreplaceable. It is our raison d’être. We cannot grow if we do not think about Quê Hương. Even when we live overseas or in a remote corner of the planet, the shadow of Quê Hương keeps on grabbing us with tenderness and regret. If we have the opportunity to spend a sleepless night, we will notice how long the night would be. If we have the opportunity to leave Viêtnam, we realize we miss Quê Hương.

Poet Ðỗ Trung Quân managed to describe it through the poem entitled “Bài Học đầu tiên cho con (First lesson for my child) that the late composer Anh Bằng will succeed in putting latter into a song. Quê Hương is a bunch of sweet star fruits which my child gathered every day. Quê Hương is the road to school flooded with dried yellow butterflies my child took every day at the time of the return. Quê Hương is the kite of glaucous color which my child had the practice to make to fly away over the meadow . Quê Hương is the small boat that advanced gently along the river. Quê Hương is the small bamboo bridge which our mother had the practice to take at the time of the return with her conical hat inclined to protect her from the sun…

Bao năm xa cách Quê Hương
Nỗi sầu viễn xứ biết dường nào nguôi
Mai nầy vĩnh biệt chôn vùi
Đất người thể xác ngậm ngùi nghìn thu.

Effectively, Quê Hương is our past, our youth, our identity, our memories. We can never grow if we have no attachment to our past. Because of the the hazards of the life,we may forget Quê Hương momentarily but we do not lose it forever.

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