#Postscript 3: “A Rose for Your Pocket,” A Translation
With inspiration from Thich Nhat Hanh’s “A Rose for Your Pocket,” The-My, Pham composed a song with the same title for the Vu-Lan Festival. In a time of political instability, his song resonated with the Vietnamese people and culture, whose respect and love for mothers are a universal truth.
As discussed in blog post #5, the core belief and ideology of “A Rose for Your Pocket” express themselves across the unreachable barrier of cultural differences and languages. In the process, like the Harlem rapper Tupac Shakur, people find their own way to pin a rose to their pocket.
What is in the song? Well, here is a rough translation. I hope, like The-My, Pham and Tupac Shakur, the lousy translation can inspire you to treasure the flower on your pocket, no matter the colors.
“A Rose for Your Pocket,” An English Translation
Here is a rose for my little sister,
Here is a rose for my brother,
And here is a rose for anyone
Who still have their mothers –
So their hearts can be filled with wonders.
And if one day, your gentle mother is gone:
Like a flower without the sun,
Like a child without laughter,
Like your life has, forever, stalled,
And the starry sky has gone.
Mothers, they are the gentle stream,
They are songs in a fairy’s dream,
The cool shadow at high noon,
The eyes of the stars and moon,
And the guiding light in the hopeless dark.
Mothers, they are the sweetest sugar canes,
They are the ripest Areca nuts and bananas, and
The crickets’ songs in the night,
The hard-boiled land’s warm sunshine.
Then one evening, you come home
And look at your mother, lovingly, tenderly.
You say, “Mom, do you know it?”
“What, dear?” your mother says.
“Do you know that I love you? I love you so much.”
A rose has just been put on my brother’s pocket.
And a rose has just been put on my little sister’s pocket.
Hence, I beg you – my brothers, my sisters –
Let’s celebrate with me, together.
The-My, Pham. (1966).