“Men cannot be our enemies — even men called ‘Vietcong.’ If we kill men, what brothers have we left: With whom shall we then live?”

Thich Nhat Hanh, Contemporary poet

 A Tale of Two Soldiers 

There were two soldiers who lived in the same village

Both loved the fatherland — Vietnam.

There were two soldiers who lived in the same village

Both loved the fields and the earth of Vietnam.

There were two soldiers, both of one family,

Both of one race — Vietnam.

There were two soldiers, both of one family,

Both of one blood — Vietnam.

There were two soldiers who were of one heart,

Neither would let Vietnam be lost.

There were two soldiers, both advancing up a road,

Determined to preserve Vietnam.

There were two soldiers who traveled a long road,

Day and night, baked with sun and soaked with dew.

There were two soldiers who traveled a long road,

Day and night they cherished their grudge.

There were two soldiers, both were heroes,

Both sought out and captured the enemy troops.

There were two soldiers, both were heroes,

Both went off to “wipe out the gang of common enemies.”

There were two soldiers who lay upon a field,

Both clasping rifles and waiting.

There were two soldiers who one rosy dawn

Killed each other for Vietnam

Killed each other for Vietnam.

By Pham Duy, South Vietnamese folk singer (1968, folk), translation

Sources:
– Heonik Kwon, After the Massacre; Commemoration and Consolation in Ha My and My Lai