Nguyen Qui Dinh
Many yellow flowers are flying in the other side of space
Mixed with the red fire crackers.
All kinds of robes and of all colors = Rosy, blue, Violet
Going back - swinging - to the small hamlet
With two hands carrying the Spring.
The warm tears
Blotted with their sleeves and through the hand skin
To the broken heart.
Here it is not in the depth of the detestable winter
Or on the burned desert.
But it is an ordinary winter - melancholy, gloomy and too old.
There are many blue eyes
Blue eyes like the sky or the sea
Located in the optimist mind;
Or many hair bouquets: blond, golden, brown or black
Lying in the hands of the young men
Who have four Springs in a year.
I know that the true Spring is coming over there.
Here it is the fifth season.
It is raining without winds and clouds.
Right now it is 4 p.m. but looks like 4 a.m.
And all the abandoned, bare trees.
Suddenly, the winds . . . .
Yellow flowers are flying in the other side of space.
Here it is not in the depth of the winter
Or on desert.
But the Spring is coming on my heart's desert.
Written in the winter of '59-'60 at the University of Arkansas by exchange graduate student Nguyen Qui Dinh. His goal was to return to Viet Nam to help improve the agricultural practices of his people. Even though he was older, he was assigned to live in the freshman dorm. We were to help him become adjusted to our culture. I met him in the dining hall when he asked if cornbread should be eaten with a fork or by hand. He thought it was a type of cake. I didn't see much of him after that year and I think he went back to South Viet Nam. I hope he survived the war.
In October 2002 I received a phone message and an e-mail from Dinh! His son was looking up Nguyen Qui Dinh in a web search and found this page. They were very surprised. Dinh is now in Hawaii. He had great difficulty after the communist takeover of South Viet Nam and lost all his personal property including his poetry. I will send him the original of this one and I hope to visit him in Hawaii some day.