Biển Nhớ by Trịnh Công Sơn

Resources

Song

Lyrics (see video description in song link)

Vietnamese Lyrics

1) Ngày mai em đi
biển nhớ tên em gọi về
gọi hồn liễu rũ lê thê
gọi bờ cát trắng đêm khuya

5) Ngày mai em đi
đồi núi nghiêng nghiêng đợi chờ
sỏi đá trông em từng giờ
nghe buồn nhịp chân bơ vơ

9) Ngày mai em đi
biển nhớ em quay về nguồn
gọi trùng dương gió ngập hồn
bàn tay chăn gió mưa sang

13) Ngày mai em đi
thành phố mắt đêm đèn mờ
hồn lẻ nghiêng vai gọi buồn
nghe ngoài biển động buồn hơn

17) Hôm nào em về
bàn tay buông lối ngỏ
đàn lên cung phím chờ
sầu lên đây hoang vu

21) Ngày mai em đi
biển nhớ tên em gọi về
chiều sương ướt đẫm cơn mê
trời cao níu bước sơn khê

25) Ngày mai em đi
cồn đá rêu phong rủ buồn
đèn phố nghe mưa tủi hờn
nghe ngoài trời giăng mây tuôn

29) Ngày mai em đi
biển có bâng khuâng gọi thầm
ngày mưa tháng nắng còn buồn
bàn tay nghe ngóng tin sang

33) Ngày mai em đi
thành phố mắt đêm đèn vàng
nửa bóng xuân qua ngập ngừng
nghe trời gió lộng mà thương.

English Lyrics

1) Tomorrow you'll leave
the ocean remembers and calls out your name, asking you to come back
calling the spirit of withered willow tree
calling the white sand at midnight

5) Tomorrow you'll leave
the hills and mountains slant while waiting
the gravel expects your hourly
listening to the sad rhythm of lonely feet 

9) Tomorrow you'll leave
the ocean remembers when you return home
calling the ocean and wind to submerge my soul1
my hands and feet cross the wind and rain (?)

13) Tomorrow you'll leave
the city lights have become dimmer2
my drooping soul calls out in sadness
listening to the rough ocean outside makes me sadder

17) When you come back
I'll open my arms to the clear pathway
And play the music loudly that was waiting
There will be no more sorrow

21) Tomorrow you'll leave
the ocean remembers and calls out your name 
the evening dew soaks me into unconsciousness (?)
the high sky pulls my steps3 towards the mountain ravines (?)

25) Tomorrow you'll leave
the rocky moss-covered dunes invite sadness
streetlights hear the grieving rain
hear the sky outside covered by erupting clouds

29) Tomorrow you'll leave
the melancholy ocean asks you to visit
the month is rainy, even the sunshine is sad
my hands listen, waiting for some news

33) Tomorrow you'll leave
the city lights shine yellow at night
half of the spring shadows have suddenly stopped 
listening to the windy skies to feel love4

Notes

  1. Not sure if the author meant his soul or the woman’s soul. 90% sure he meant his own.
  2. The original lines are poetic. I think the composer calls city lights the “city’s night eyes” but it doesn’t really translate well into English. He repeats this analogy again in line 34.
  3. “bước” means “steps” but the author doesn’t say whose steps. Some people seem to infer that he means the sky’s steps while others claim the meaning of the sentence is different entirely. I guess this is one of those figurative sentences that can have multiple meanings. Poetry.
  4. I think the author could mean that he’s listening for her name in the wind or something like that.

Other

My dad told me that when they first arrived to the refugee camps in 1975, they played this song every time one group of people needed to leave the camps.  He said during that time, it was really sad because  was the song about two people separating and many of the refugees at the time didn’t know when/if they’d see each other again.  Listening to the song and knowing the background of how much this song meant to refugees made me feel really connected not only with my dad but my Vietnamese culture in general.

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One thought on “Biển Nhớ by Trịnh Công Sơn

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