heng-sreang-penToday, I received an email from a long lost Cambodian writer friend, Heng Sreang, who was president of PEN Cambodia in 2010. He is now at Yale. Always nice to know someone who wants to translate a poem.

Dear Adam,

How are you doing? 

I am at Yale University for a year now.

I love many poems of yours, and I select one to read tomorrow for American students and lecturers.

I am translating it as they want to hear Khmer words and sound. 

I am going to read two poems.  One is yours and another one from a friend, who got SEA Write Award last year.  Mr. Kho Tararith. 

Yours is the one below.

With kind regards, Adam

Sreang 

Poem 

The basket can never conceal the elephant indefinitely

Barking dogs seldom bite

Words are weapons

Roses have thorns, love has obstacles.

 

Real gold is not afraid of the fire

The basket can never conceal the elephant indefinitely

Barking dogs seldom bite

Words are weapons.

 

Revolutionaries must be pulled from the earth like diamonds

Real gold is not afraid of the fire

The basket can never conceal the elephant indefinitely

Barking dogs seldom bite.

 

Little by little, the bottle will fill

Revolutionaries must be pulled from the earth like diamonds

Real gold is not afraid of the fire

The basket can never conceal the elephant indefinitely.

 

Leaves fall off not far from the trunk

Little by little, the bottle will fill

Revolutionaries must be pulled from the earth like diamonds

Real gold is not afraid of the fire.

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