A ghost, from out of his past,
Arrived, to haunt him by mail;
News from a long lost lover,
Now ending a twenty year trail.
Imprinted deep in his memory,
A few days and hot autumn nights;
Clear crystal waters, lapped a beach,
Passions reached up to new heights.
After the fall of the South,
She escaped, some way, somehow;
Although the fruit of their seeds,
And she, now reside in Vung Tau.
He would now turn back the clock,
Re-visit that changed foreign world;
At last meet with his daughter,
A young Vietnamese girl.
At Ton Son Nhat, the main airport,
Its old name ’twas long gone;
Yet few things still the same,
Since he was last in Saigon.
Through the sea of strange faces,
He spotted them, straight away;
A mirror image, and her mother,
As if only, yesterday.
Standing apart from the rest,
Perhaps his bias at play;
Each so gorgeous to look at,
Dressed in a satin ‘ao dai’.
Their almond eyes? How they walked?
He simply just didn’t know;
Perhaps their laugh? How each talked?
Memories ... from so long ago.
Flashing a smile he knew well,
She had judged him no blame;
In their short time allotted,
Revealing what’s meant by that name.
Choice of her mother’s, ’twas Thu Thüy,
Translated means: ‘Autumn Water’,
And recalling that night by the sea, Appropriate choice for his daughter.
One generation later, a soldier returns to Vietnam to confront a social issue he has ignored for far too long. This poem is his story.
“Vietnam haunts me into poetry!”