Friday, May 29, 2015

Woman Knitting

Woman Knitting


Translated by Marilyn Nelson

In the chill afternoon
a woman sits by a window, knitting.
She seems so patient and so anxious.
Patient, for she has the rest of her life.
Anxious, for these may be her last moments.
No sighs.
No smiles.
Is it grief she hides,
or happiness?
Is she filled with hope,
or doubt?

She never looks up.
Does she look back to first meeting,
or to last parting?

Does her knitting hide sorrow or joy?
Or is it hope or worry in her eyes?

In the chill afternoon
a woman sits by a window, knitting.
Under her feet,
a roll of wool, a coiled blue globe,
slowly unravels its circles.

Y Nhi was born in Quang Nam Province in 1944, and studied literature at Hanoi University. She has  published five poetry collections and won the National  Book of the Year Award in 1984.  Y Nhi is associated with the Vietnam-American war period but has become better known as a postwar poet. She is one of very few female poets who have attracted the attention of readers by referring to the fate of women in Vietnam. Her poems are among the most modern in emotion and form. Ý Nhi's poetry is characterized by the softness, silence, and loneliness of a woman who last experienced great loss, such as love, in her  life.  Her work often carries a tone of sadness and sorrow.

Source: Six Vietnamese Poets Edited by Neuyen Ba Chung and Kevin Bowen. Curbstone Press

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