A gentle spring evening arrives
Airily, unclouded by worldly dust.
Three times the bell tolls echoes like a wave.
We see heaven upside-down in sad puddles.
Love’s vast sea cannot be emptied.
And springs of grace flow easily everywhere.
Where is nirvana?
Nirvana is here, nine times out of ten.
Translated by John Balaban, Spring Essence: The Poetry of Hồ Xuân Hương
Balaban comments: “My persistence was sustained by admiration and awe, which I hope the reader will experience: for [her] lonely, intelligent life, for her exquisite poetry, her stubbornness, her sarcasm, her bravery, her irreverent humor, and her bodhisattva’s compassion. She is a world-class poet who can move us today as she has moved Vietnamese for two hundred years.”