Copyright © 2008 by Fred Marchant and Nguyen Ba Chung.
Notes on the translations:
* Con Son Mountain is approximately fifty kilometers south of Ha Noi. It inspired both of these poets. It is close to the village where Tran Dang Khoa grew up, and it is where Nguyen Trai often retreated to in order to write, and where his ashes were scattered after his death by assassination.
** Nguyen Trai was a poet, a general, and a courtier. His poems are among the earliest poems in vernacular Vietnamese. He remains one of the legendary poet-generals who helped create Viet Nam as a nation independent of the Chinese empire.
*** Tran Dang Khoa was a child prodigy of a poet whose work, during the years of the American war, became widely known throughout what was then North Viet Nam. An acclaimed memoirist in recent years, he presently lives and writes in Ha Noi.