MY APRIL 30th

Thạch Ngọc Trường looking back at the four decade-communist control wrote the following verses.

My April 30th

April 30th, 1975
Lying at home
Capitulation news spreading
My eyes dazzled
My head tipsy
Tumultuous city
Military uniforms, knapsacks,
firearms, bullets
all over the streets.
Familiar faces
Now bragging red arm bands
Prison cells are open
Criminals, big and small, out errant.
Many stores are looted.

April 30th, 1976
In reeducation camps
They celebrate "liberation"
A day off from labor
I enjoy my bowl of rice mixed with gravel   
Few grams of sliced meat
Few twigs of potato plants.

April 30th, 1978
Holding my parole paper  
Overjoyed I walk to the gate
They had me back:
"Wait a few more days
Only after we change the currency."
The cyclo-driver scolds me,
"No more officers' wives,
Corrupted, women have gone to the cadres' side."
I enter my home
My wife brimming with tears
Welcoming me back from the dead.

April 30th, 1980
Refugee camp
with thousands of people
who have braved death and seas
leaving behind their native land
their ancestral tombs
their spouses, their properties
just to breathe
the air of liberty.

April 30th, 2007
I land at Noi Bai airport
I am back in my old town
I look for my narrow streets
my church, my old school still there
decrepit everywhere.
Next to them all splendid
high rise hotels and villas
showing off their opulence with arrogance.
I go back to my old village
poverty is rampant
with a seven day-work week
peasant sell their labor abroad
sacrifice for their children.

 April 30th, 2009
I look back home
land and sea are given away.
Enemies are invited
to our High Plateaus
sitting tight on the country's spine.
They expel innocent villagers
to build heir jungle bases.
They waste my motherland,
greedily extract bauxite.
They destroy the environment
and take hold of our native land.

Thach Ngoc Truong in Vo et al. The Men Of Vietnam. Outskirts Press, 2009: 179-184. and Vo et al. War and Remembrance. Outskirts Press, 2009: 199.