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36-BUỔI HỌC ĐẦU TIÊN-Trương Anh Thụy/THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL-dịch:Huỳnh Sanh Thông PDF Print E-mail

BUỔI HỌC
ĐẦU TIÊN

Hôm nay ngày nhập học
Con xách cập đến trường
Mặt buồn thiu phụng phịu
Trông thương ơi là thương!

Mẹ dắt con đến lớp
Con chùn lại không vào
Cô giáo ra tận cửa
Mỉm cười bắt tay chào

Bước theo cô miễn cưỡng
Đôi chân nặng như chì
Quay đầu nhìn trở lại
Như van mẹ: “Đừng đi!”

Mẹ dón dén ngồi xuống
Trên chiếc ghế góc phòng
Lấm lét con nhìn mẹ
Đôi mắt ướt lưng tròng

Lần đầu tiên xa mẹ
Xa bố, xa ông bà
Con tưởng như trời đổ
Như vật đổi sao sa!

Nhớ hôm trước con hỏi:
“Cô giáo có yêu con?
“Bạn là ai hở mẹ?
“Họ trông có giống con?

 “Ở trường làm sao nói
“Khi muốn uống muốn ăn?
“Khi muốn đi phòng tắm?
“Khi con lỡ tè dầm?

Tuổi thơ sao sớm hiểu!
Sớm biết liệu lo thân
Thương con còn non nớt
Mẹ suy nghĩ bần thần

Thoáng thấy con lơ đãng
Nhìn giấy dán trên tường
Mẹ lui mau lối cửa
Rồi biến mất ra đường

Tan trường mẹ trở lại
Hân hoan đón con về
Con ôm chầm lấy mẹ
Nước mắt dài lê thê...:

“Con không đi học nữa
“Con chẳng có ai chơi
“Con nói bằng tiếng Việt
“Cả lớp phá lên cười

Mẹ thương con đứt ruột
Nhưng vội mắng át ngay:
“Con tôi hư quá nhỉ!
“Không bằng mấy anh mày!

“Con sẽ học tiếng Mỹ
“Sẽ có bạn nay mai
“Chúng nói một thứ tiếng
“Con nói được những hai

 Đêm nay con nằm ngủ
Trằn trọc mãi không yên
Mẹ vuốt ve khuyên nhủ:
“Lâu rồi con sẽ quen

“Con khác bạn cùng lớp
“Vì con: người Việt Nam
“Từ xưa một giòng giống
“Văn hóa mấy ngàn năm

“Tổ tiên con: Nguyễn Trãi
“Lê Lợi với Quang Trung
“Chuyện Hoa Lư Thánh Gióng
“Sáng ngời gương Triệu Trưng

Bỗng con lay tay mẹ:
“Thôi! Thôi! Con nhớ rồi
“Chuyện cờ lau tập trận
“Chuyện Phù Đổng lên trời...

“Con sẽ kể với bạn
“Cho chúng phục lăn... chơ... ơi...
Chợt giọng con nhỏ hẳn
Khò... Khò........
Con ngủ rồi!

TRƯƠNG ANH THỤY
(Virginia, USA)

THE FIRST DAY
OF SCHOOL

Today is his first day of school
The child, with satchel, must go in—
wearing a face of gloom and doom,
poor boy, he looks so woebegone!

Mother will steer him to his class,
but here he balks and won’t walk in.
The teacher, waiting at the door,
smiles a big smile and shakes his hand.

Against his will he follows her,
dragging his feet which feel like lead.
He turns his head and looking back,
he seems to plead, “Mom, please don’t leave!”

So Mother tiptoes to a chair
and, in a corner, she sits down.
Meanwhile, the child keeps watching her
with furtive eyes that brim with tears.

For the first time he’ll be away
from Mom and Dad, Grandpa, Grandma.
The child believes the sky will fall
and stars will tumble in their flight.

Recall the other day—he asked:
“But will the teacher care for me?
Who’ll be my friends and play with me?
Will they look just like me or not?


“Tell me--- at school what should I say
if I would like to drink or eat,
if I must go to their rest room,
if I do wrong and wet my pants?”

He knows so much for his young age!
He sees ahead and makes his plans.
Poor boy, he’s just a little kid,
and Mother worries for his sake.

The child’s attention now is held
by colored posters on the walls.
So toward the exit Mother slides
and disappears into the street.

But after school she does come back:
in triumph she’ll escort him home.
The child clasps her and won’t let go
as down his cheeks the hot tears flow.

“Mother, I won’t go back to school!
There was no one to play with me.
And when I spoke in Vietnamese,
They burst out laughing—all of them!”

It breaks her heart to hear these words,
but gently she chastises him:
“You’re just too spoiled, my darling son.
Watch your big brothers and behave.

You’ll be taught English --- you will learn;
soon you’ll be making friends.
They speak one language --- only one.
Study, and you’ll be speaking two!”

Tonight the child she tucks in bed
fidgets and frets and  won’t doze off.
Mother strokes him and softly says:
“You’ll like it when you’re used to school.

You’re different from the other kids
because you are a Vietnamese.
Since long ago we’ve formed one race ---
Our history boasts four thousand years.

Your ancestors include Nguyen Trai, (1)
Le Loi, Quang Trung --- all worthy men.(2) You know about Hoa Lu, Saint Giong. (3)
Such names as Trung (4) and Trieu still shine (5)

Suddenly the child shakes Mother’s arm:
“Oh, I remember now those tales!
Reed tassels in war games were flags.
He flew to heaven, that Saint Giong!

I’ll tell those stories to my friends:
their eyes will pop out, and they’ll gasp…”
His voice trails off and then stops short.
A steady snore—he is asleep.

Translated by
HUYNH SANH THONG
(An Anthology of Vietnamese Poems, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996).


NOTES OF “THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL”
(1) Nguyễn Trãi: Nguyễn Phi Khanh (1336-1408) served Hồ Quý Ly in a high post and shared his fate when Hồ was toppled by the Ming invaders and taken as a prisoner to China in 1407.  Legend has it that his son Nguyễn Trãi (1380-1442) wanted to accompany him into exile, but Phi Khanh told him to stay home and work for national liberation.  Nguyễn Trãi was destined to become Lê Lợi’s strategist and the achitect of their ultimate victory over the Chinese in 1428.
(2) Quang Trung: the reign of Nguyễn Huệ (1752-1792), victorious peasant leader of the Tay Son revolt.
(3)  Hoa Lư: the capital of Vietnam during the Dinh dynasty (968-980) and the Earlier Le dynasty (980-1009).  A village in Ninh-binh Province, it was chosen as the capital by Dinh Bo Linh after he had triumphed over the other warlords and unified the country under his rule.  Hoa Lu means “reed tassels.” As legend has it, in his youth Dinh Bo Linh would lead fellow buffalo boys in war games, using reed tassels for flags. 
Saint Giong: according to Vietnamese myth, the child hero who saved the country from the northern invaders and flew back to heaven after victory.
(4)  Trưng: In the first century of the Christian era, Vietnam was known as Chiao-chih (Giao-Chỉ  in Vietnamese) and was part of the Han empire.  The tradition goes that the Chinese governor Su Ting (Tô Định) killed Trưng Trắc's husband, Thi Sách.  After that incident, the widow and her younger sister Trưng Nhị. led a revolt that succeeded in toppling Chinese rule.  The two women reigned briefly, from 40 to 43.  Defeated by China's legendary Marshall Ma Yuan (Mã Viện), they either drowned themselves or were captured and executed, according to various accounts.
(5) Lady Triệu with her brother, she led a rebellion against the Chinese in 248 CE. )

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