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Lam Thi My Da - Poem for the Year of the Buffalo

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Poem for the Year of the Buffalo

I was born in the year of the buffalo
A year that brings many troubles
A buffalo toils all year round
Works hard but never grumbles

When i was very small I walked
With my buffalo to the village fields
Green grass, high flying kites
Buffalo and I would daydream

There was so much wind
In the wide open fields
There was so much sun
Buffalos eyes would brim

Dont play music near a buffalos ear-
Please dont tell me that
If a buffalo looks, a buffalo knows
It doesnt need to hear

I left home a long time ago
But when spring comes I go back
There I meet the black buffalo
Still attentive, innocent

The buffalo eats grass all day
Spring offers up grass again
Thanks to heaven for watching over
The buffalos youth, that never ends.

-Lam Thi My Da

translated by Thuy Dink and Martha Collins