Poet's Choice

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By Robert Pinsky
Sunday, February 24, 2008

For this, my farewell "Poet's Choice" column, here are two poems related by a form: the sonnet. This little 14-line variable recipe seems to have an endless capacity for different purposes, settings and feelings. "Night Harvest," by Lam Thi My Da, is translated from the Vietnamese by Martha Collins and Thuy Dinh:

White circles of conical hats have come out

Like the quiet skies of our childhood

Like the wings of storks spread in the night

White circles evoking the open sky

The golds of rice and cluster-bombs blend together

Even delayed-fuse bombs bring no fear

Our spirits have known many years of war

Come, sisters, let us gather the harvest

Each of us wears her own small moon

Glittering on a carpet of gold rice

We are the harvesters of my village


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