Seeking the most comprehensive and holistic healing of war wounds possible, I have been leading annual reconciliation journeys to Viet Nam for veterans and other war survivors every year since the twenty-fifth anniversary of the end of the war in 2000. Encounters between survivors of all sides squeeze long-ago memories and feelings out of American and Vietnamese alike. Through poetry I record the voices and stories of women and men who lived through extraordinarily close encounters during war and again on meeting today. These encounters show the depths and complexities of our emotional lives during times of warfare and its aftermath when we can transform fear and hatred into understanding, compassion and love.
Dear readers of Close Encounters in War, we are delighted to publish another poetic contribution about the Vietnam war, this time from the perspective of a Vietnamese veteran: Trần Đình Song, who served in the Southern Vietnamese Air Force and was in the re-education forced labour camps after the war. This beautiful poem was written in 1966, and although the horror of civil war war haunted the Author and his country, his words are full of love and hope. We publish the poem in its original version, accompanied by the new English translation that the Author made with his friend and member of the CEIWJ Editorial Board Edward Tick.
Dòng suối quê hương (The Streams of Our Native Land), by Trần Đình Song
Survive & Thrive: A Journal for Medical Humanities and Narrative as Medicine, 5, 2 (2020)
The American War in Viet Nam created
significant divisions among their population. Factions include southern Army of
the Republic of Viet Nam (ARVN) veterans, northern People’s Republic or North
Vietnamese Army (NVA) veterans, Viet Cong (VC)veterans who were essentially
militia, non-combatant Pioneers – largely women, Agent Orange victims. All
these are now treated as one people, one family. Some government prejudice and
denial of benefits remains toward ARVN vets, but as we will see not among the
common people. We turn to our American experiences in the Viet Nam of today of
otherness, differentness, moral responsibility for the war, the possibilities of
reconciliation between former foes. How do the Vietnamese experience us? And
what is our experience of being the outsiders from our country that formerly
invaded this land?
Download the open-access article as PDF for free HERE.
Poet, author, psychotherapist and international activist and guide, Edward Tick,
Ph.D., (www.edwardtick.com) is author of four nonfiction books, including War
and the Soul, and two volumes of poetry. A specialist in war and trauma healing
and the cultures of Viet Nam and Greece, Ed uses the humanities, literature,
cross-cultural and ancient psycho-spiritual-cultural practices for healing.
We present in this section a collection of poetical contributions that explore the topic of the close encounter in war.
Scott Casey: You died today (May 4, 2021)
Kate Dahlstedt: Sentry (April 21, 2021)
Humberto Ak’abal: Selected poems from In the Courtyard of the Moon (Tia Chucha Press, 2021) (March 26, 2021)
Edward Tick: The Emotions after War in Viet Nam. Poetry from my Reconciliation and Healing Journeys (March 17, 2021)
Yoav Ben Yosef: Smol Yameen (March 9, 2021)
Trần Đình Song: Dòng suối quê hương (The Streams of Our Native Land) (February 22, 2021)
Charles “Sandy” Scull and Brent “Mac” MacKinnon: Selected poetry and prose by Sandy Scull and Brent MacKinnon from the volume Agent Orange Roundup. Living with a Foot in Two Worlds (Bookstand Publishing, 2020) (December 27, 2020)
Edward Tick: Selected poetry and prose by Edward Tick (December 27, 2020)