Begining to think about a trip to South East Asia, including 12 days in Vietnam, I turned to a friend of mine who has known the country, the people and the poetry since doing CO work there during the American War in Vietnam.  This is the opening poem in John Balaban’s Spring Essence: The Poetry of Hồ Xuân Hương

Drop by drop rain slaps the banana leaves.
Praise whoever sketched this desolate scene:

the lush dark canopies of the gnarled trees,
the long river, sliding smooth and white.

I lift my wine flask, drunk with rivers and hills.
My backpack, breathing moonlight, sags with poems.

Look, and love everyone.
Whoever sees this landscape is stunned.

It seems unlikely on first reading to think there are sexual double entendres hidden within.  To get a better sense of what she is doing, get the book. Copper Canyon Press does it’s usual wonderful job, and John Balaban is unsurpassed as a translator of Vietnamese.

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