Author: fishsaucetoketchup

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.

Tình Thôi Xót Xa by Bảo Chấn

Sources

Song

Lyrics (I got the lyrics from another source because they didn’t match 100%)

Vietnamese Lyrics

Từ khi quen em...anh đã biết bối rối 
Vì những lúc thoáng nghe em cười 
Anh đã biết con tim hoa xuân hé nụ 
Người yêu ơi...xin em chớ quên 
Mùa xuân trên cao và hoa lá lấp lánh nắng 
Nụ hôn thơ ngây trao em rồi 
Em yêu kiều thướt tha cho hồn đắm say 
Cuộc tình ngỡ dài lâu ngủ sau vòng tay êm ái. 

Anh nào biết...anh nào có hay 
Hạnh phúc trôi qua tay giấc mộng tàn 
Lòng cay đắng khi em quên lối hẹn 
Lời yêu rồi thương em đã quên (đã quên) 
Nhưng lòng anh nuôi hoài ước mơ 
Tình sẽ không phôi pha như làn mây 
Có nhiều đêm trong mơ anh vẫn chờ...chờ em đến 
Tình thôi xót xa

English Lyrics

Since I've gotten to know you, I know I'm confused1
Because the many times I quickly hear you laugh
I already know the spring flowers in my heart are blossoming
Oh my love...please don't forget
Spring is on top2 and the foliage sparkle in the sunlight
I gave you your first kiss3 (?) 
You love praying gracefully and devoting yourself (?) 
I believe love is sleeping for a long time in your arms, oh

Which man knows...which man is good
Happiness flows through my hands like a crumbling dream
My heart is resentful4 and bitter when you flake
You already forgot my loving words (already forgot)5 (?)
Yet my heart harbors endless dreams
That love will not fade like a cloud
There are many nights in my dreams where I'm waiting...waiting for you to arrive
Ending love creates long-lasting pain

Notes

  1. “bối rối” can mean either “embarrassed”, “confused/puzzled”, or “troubled”. Not entirely sure which meaning the artist is using
  2. Not entirely sure what “Mùa xuân trên cao” translates to.  “Mùa xuân” is “Spring” and “trên cao” means “high above/on top” but I have no idea how the two words relate
  3. Not sure what that line means.  “Nụ hôn” means “Kiss”, “thơ ngây” means “naive” or “inexperienced” and “trao em rồi” means “gave to you already”.  I’m going to assume the singer gave his love an innocent kiss, like a first kiss
  4. “Cay” usually means “spicy” but I think in this case it can mean “resentful” or “indignant”
  5. Not sure if the singer is saying that the girl forgot his loving words or if she forgot how to say loving words

Other

My brother actually requested this song.  It’s not a classic song (which I consider pre-1990s) but it’s not a new song either.  If I understand the wiki page for the composer (which is a pretty big if), the song is from 2004 so I didn’t label it by date published.  The title of the song is also the last line.

Về Đâu Mái Tóc Người Thương by Hoài Linh

Sources

Song (didn’t listen to all of them but I like Quang Le’s version)

Lyrics

Vietnamese Lyrics

Hồn lỡ sa vào đôi mắt em 
Chiều nao xõa tóc ngồi bên rèm 
Thầm ước nhưng nào đâu dám nói 
Khép tâm tư lại thôi 
Đường hoa vẫn chưa mở lối 

Đời lắm phong trần tay trắng tay 
Trời đông ngại gió lùa vai gầy 
Lầu kín trăng về không lối chiếu 
Gác cao ngăn niềm yêu 
Thì thôi mơ ước chi nhiều 

Bên nhau sao tình xa vạn lý cách biệt mấy sơn khê 
Ngày đi mắt em xanh biển sâu, mắt tôi rưng rưng sầu 
Lặng nghe tiếng pháo tiễn ai qua cầu 

Đường phố muôn màu sao thiếu em 
Về đâu làn tóc xõa bên rèm 
Lầu vắng không người song khép kín 
Nhớ em tôi gọi tên, chỉ nghe lá rơi bên thềm

English Lyrics

My soul is lost in your eyes
Every afternoon when you sit by the blinds, swaying your hair (?)
I secretly wish but dare not say
That you stop closing your heart again (?)
The easy path1 still isn't available 

Life has left me very empty-handed2 (?)
The fearful winter winds blow on my thin shoulders 
The private moon returns but doesn't shine (?)
A tall barrier divides our love 
Then I'll stop dreaming so much

When we're near each other why are you so distant, giving us 10 thousand reasons to break up
The day you left your eyes were the color of the deep ocean, mine were sadly welling up with tears
Silently listening for the sound of firecrackers sending off someone across the bridge

The many colors3 of the streets seem different without you (?)
Where did you go, the hanging hair by the blinds
The empty apartment floor doesn't have anyone there 
Missing you I call your name, but I only hear the leaves falling on the terrace 

Notes

  1. The literal translation of “Đường hoa vẫn chưa mở lối” is “The flower streets still haven’t opened up” but I don’t think the composer meant literal streets with flowers.
  2. “trắng tay” literally translates to “white hands” but the meaning is closer to “empty handed” (Kind of like how being caught “red-handed” doesn’t mean the person’s hands are literally red)
  3. I’m really confused how to translate this sentence.  I understand each of the words individually but don’t understand how they fit together. Literally the sentence translates to “The streets many colors how missing you”

Other Notes

My dad told me that this song was about a guy who was essentially homeless (ex: wind blowing on his thin shoulders, living life empty handed) but fell in love with a girl who lived in an apartment but one day moved out.  The title of the song translates to “Where did you go, the hair of someone I loved?”

Việt Nam! Việt Nam! by Phạm Duy

Sources

Song

Lyrics

Vietnamese Lyrics

Việt Nam Việt Nam nghe từ vào đời 
Việt Nam hai câu nói bên vành nôi 
Việt Nam nước tôi. 

Việt Nam Việt Nam tên gọi là người 
Việt Nam hai câu nói sau cùng khi lìa đời 
Việt Nam đây miền xinh tươi 
Việt Nam đem vào sông núi 
Tự do công bình bác ái muôn đời 

Việt Nam không đòi xương máu 
Việt Nam kêu gọi thương nhau 
Việt Nam đi xây đắp yên vui dài lâu 
Việt Nam trên đường tương lai, 
Lửa thiêng soi toàn thế giới 
Việt Nam ta nguyện tranh đấu cho đời 

Tình yêu đây là khí giới, 
Tình thương đem về muôn nơi 
Việt Nam đây tiếng nói đi xây tình người 
Việt Nam! Việt Nam! 
Việt Nam quê hương đất nước sáng ngời 
Việt Nam! Việt Nam! Việt Nam muôn đời

English Lyrics

Vietnam, Vietnam! The first words you hear in life
Vietnam is the first words you speak
Vietnam is my country.

Vietnam, Vietnam! The name calls to you
Vietnam is the last word you speak when you pass away
Vietnam is where the young and attractive are 
Vietnam is the rivers and mountains
Freedom, equality, and humanity for everyone

Vietnam doesn't want violence
Vietnam calls for peace and love
Vietnam will build1 a long-lasting happiness (?)
Vietnam is on the path towards the future
The sacred fire2 illuminates the entire universe
Vietnam, I pledge myself entirely for you

Love here is our weapon
Affection will bring us everywhere3 (?)
Vietnam is the word to build a kind person
Vietnam! Vietnam!
Vietnam is the homeland that shines brightly
Vietnam! Vietnam! Vietnam is all of life

Notes

  1. Couldn’t find a translation for “đắp yên” but I think what I have gets the general idea
  2. Not sure if this is referring something from Vietnamese folklore or if I translated it wrong
  3. Not sure how to translate “muôn nơi”.  Pretty sure it means “everywhere” but then the sentence doesn’t make much sense :/

Other notes

I asked my mom what her favorite Vietnamese song was and this was the first thing she could think of.  She said it wasn’t her favorite though just what popped into her head.  Still, it’s a pretty simple and repetitive song so it was quick to translate.  It’s very patriotic and what I imagine hippy songs in Vietnam were like during the war.

Bốn Chữ Lắm by Trúc Nhân and Trương Thảo Nhi

Sources

Song (the music video is pretty cool)

Lyrics

Vietnamese Lyrics

Yêu là đau, thương là đau sao chờ mong 
Người đi về đâu vẫn nhớ về 
Tình là có không khi nào. 
Tay cầm tay, thương là thương 
Sao chờ mong ngày mai ai biết ra sao 
Người có đi xa tận phương trời. 

Nắng trong mưa tìm nhau 
Chờ một ngày yêu thương lả lơi 
Nói cho nhau một câu 
Để từng ngày ta thôi còn trông ngóng 
Trái tim thôi ngủ yên 
Để từng đêm ta say triền miên 
Để đêm nay ngừng trôi 
Một mình anh nơi đây vẫn thao thức 

[Chorus]
Yêu lắm... 
Thương lắm... mà xa lắm... đau lắm... 
Ai buồn... Ai buồn... Em buồn... Vì ai 
Yêu lắm... 
Thương lắm... mà xa lắm... chứ đau lắm... 
Ai chờ... mong chờ... em chờ đợi anh 
Na na na na na na na...

English Lyrics

Love is pain, affection is pain; how can we hope to wait
People who leave home still miss home
Love is never feeling lonely1 (?)
Hand in hand, affection is affection 
How can we hope to wait for an unforseeable future
People have gone as far as the sky2

Rain or sunshine3, we'll find each other
Wait for the day when we can love and care for each other
Say to each other one sentence
Every day that I wait lasts forever (?)
My heart quietly sleeps
Every night I drink an endless river of alcohol
Let this night stop drifting away
Being alone is making me restless4 (?)

[Chorus]
Lots of love...
Lots of affection...but lots of distance...lots of pain...
Who's sad...who's sad...I'm sad...That's who
Lots of love...
Lots of affection...but lots of distance...certainly lots of pain
Who's waiting...waiting hopefully...I'm waiting for you

Notes

  1. I might be translating too loosely
  2. “trời” either means “sky” or “heaven” but I thought translating it to “heaven” was a bit morbid for a song that’s kind of cutesy
  3. “Nắng trong mưa” literally translates to “sunshine in rain” but I didn’t think that’s what they were trying to say
  4. Not sure how to translate “thao thức”.  One source said “restlessness” but another didn’t have any translations

Other Notes

The title of the song literally translates to “The Four ‘Lot’ Words”.  It’s referring to the chorus when the singers say “lots of love/affection/distance/pain”.  I like translating newer songs because the lyrics are generally more straight forward, repetitive, and simple (at least in the two songs I’ve done).  But I’ll be sure to go through some more classic songs as well because those are the ones my family likes.

Diễm Xưa by Trịnh Công Sơn

Sources

Lyrics

Song (I was too lazy to go through all the versions but the original composer sang this song if you want to listen. His second verse is actually in English but I didn’t use it in my translations)

Vietnamese

Mưa vẫn mưa bay trên tầng tháp cổ
Dài tay em mấy thuở1 mắt xanh xao
Nghe lá thu mưa reo mòn gót nhỏ
Đường dài hun hút cho mắt thêm sâu

Mưa vẫn hay mưa trên hàng lá nhỏ
Buổi chiều ngồi ngóng những chuyến mưa qua
Trên bước chân em âm thầm lá đổ
Chợt hồn xanh buốt cho mình xót xa

Chiều nay còn mưa sao em không lại
Nhỡ mai trong cơn đau vùi
Làm sao có nhau, hằn lên nỗi đau
Bước chân em xin về mau

Mưa vẫn hay mưa cho đời biển động
Làm sao em nhớ những vết chim di
Xin hãy cho mưa qua miền đất rộng
Để người phiêu lãng quên mình lãng du

Mưa vẫn hay mưa cho đời biển động
Làm sao em biết bia đá không đau
Xin hãy cho mưa qua miền đất rộng
Ngày sau sỏi đá cũng cần có nhau.

English

Rain still falls on the old tower floor
Your long arms and sometimes your pale eyes (?)
Listen to the rain hitting the fall leaves like little footsteps
The long road attracts my eyes deeply (?)

Rain still often falls on the row of little leaves
In the evening, I sit watching the rain pass
Leaves silently fall on your footsteps
Sudden sadness2 gives me sharp pain

It's still raining this afternoon, how come you haven't returned?
If tomorrow is buried in a painful storm(?)
How can we have each other, when traces of pain come up?
I'm begging you, come home soon

Rain still often falls on the rough ocean
How come you remember all the signs of the birds that left (?)
I ask the rain to pass the wide open earth
For the wanderers to forget about us drifting around (?)

The rain still often falls on the rough ocean
How do you know that the punch of alcohol doesn't hurt (?)
I ask the rain to pass the wide open earth
The day after tomorrow even the gravel3 needs to be together (?)

Notes

  1. I don’t know what “mấy thuở”  means
  2. “hồn xanh” literally translates to “green/blue spirit” but I don’t think this is what the composer meant
  3. I don’t know what “sỏi đá” means

Other Notes

I’m pretty dense when it comes to English poetry but Vietnamese poetry is a completely other level.  I originally picked this song because I liked the melody and thought what little I did understand sounded beautiful.  I was often confused going through the lyrics because Trịnh Công Sơn is (apparently) famous for his poetic lyrics, specifically his nature metaphors.  The lyrics can also be a little confusing with the lack of pronouns.  Some of the lines I had to guess if the speaker was referring to himself or the object of his affections.

Áo Lụa Hà Đông by Ngô Thụy Miên

Sources

Song  (has a bunch of renditions; I liked Tuấn Ngọc, Bằng Kiều and Ngọc Lan)
Lyrics

Vietnamese

Nắng Sài Gòn anh đi mà chợt mát
Bởi vì em mặc áo lụa Hà Đông
Anh vẫn yêu màu áo ấy vô cùng
Anh vẫn yêu màu áo ấy vô cùng
Anh vẫn nhớ em ngồi đây tóc ngắn
Mà mùa Thu dài lắm ở chung quanh

Linh hồn anh vội vã vẽ chân dung
Bay vội vã vào trong hồn mở cửa
Em chợt đến, chợt đi, anh vẫn biết
Trời chợt mưa, chợt nắng chẳng gì đâu
Nhưng sao đi mà không bảo gì nhau?
Để anh gọi tiếng thở buồn vọng laị ....

Em ở đâu, hỡi mùa Thu tóc ngắn?
Giữ hộ anh màu áo lụa Hà Đông
Anh vẫn yêu màu áo ấy vô cùng
Anh vẫn yêu màu áo ấy vô cùng...
Anh vẫn yêu màu áo ấy em ơi

English

A sunny day in Saigon suddenly becomes colder
Because you're wearing a silk dress from Ha Dong
I still really love the color of that dress
I still really love the color of that dress
I still remember you sitting here with your short hair
But Fall lasts a long time here

I paint your portrait in my dreams1
Quickly fly back to my open arms2
You came and left suddenly, I still know
Sudden rain, sudden sun means nothing
Yet why did you leave without telling me anything?
My long sighs sound like sad echos3

Where are you, dear Fall with short hair?
Keep for me the color of that silk dress from Ha Dong4
I still really love the color of that dress
I still really love the color of that dress
I still love the color of your dress

Notes

  1. The literal translation is “My soul hastily paints a portrait” but I was told it meant that he sees this girl in his dream
  2. My original translation of “Quickly flying into the open door” was too literal.  Although “mở cửa” means “open door” in this case it means that he’s eagerly waiting for her
  3. My original translation of “Let me call my breaths a sad echo” was again, too literal.  My dad said that although “tiếng thở” was literally “breathing sounds”, in this context it means “sighs”.
  4. This line has two meaning. He is literally asking the woman to keep that silk dress but also asking her (or the Fall season? not sure) to keep the woman young and innocent.

I chose this song because it happens to be one of my dad’s favorites.  Luckily, it’s pretty repetitive so the lyrics are relatively short.  I not confident with some of my translations so I added “(?)” to signify these phrases.  Maybe I’m just being dense or looking up wrong word groups but I’ll hopefully fix these in the future.

As you can see, I still don’t know why the line spacing is doubled.  While I’m writing and in the edit post, they are single spaced.