A reflection about grass

By Ngo Duc Hanh|21/04/2023 14:31

I was born like grass. I grew up with grass. When I first realized my surrounding, there was grass. Growing up, followed my mother to the garden, picking grass. When I grew up a bit, I went to the fields to cut grass and graze buffaloes. All around me was smooth, grassy grass.

I live to this day, also thanks to the grass. When I was in middle school, when recess ended, I rushed into class. Unfortunately, when crossing a well, due to American bombs broke a piece of ground before, I stepped on the grass, but the bottom of the ground was not strong enough. I fell into the well and soaking wet. While "waving around" - a natural reaction, my hand grabbed a blade of grass. I was able to emerge above the water and escape death.


Yes, grass. Grasses are plants belonging to the Herbs that grow wild. There are many types of grass. When I was a child going to pick grass with my mother, I remember having weed, yarrow, bear grass, spear grass, stevia.... For children in the countryside, no one will forget the game "grass fighting"...

A lot of contemporary poets that I know have poems about grass. Close-knit poets such as Hoang Vu Thuat have "I belong to the Grass", Tran Quang Quy have "Grass Lullaby", Tran Chan Uy has "Oh Grass", Le Thanh Nghi has "In the Grass"....

Recently, I was gifted a collection of poems by talented poet Truong Nam Huong, "Time of the young sun and other poems". In this volume there are 3 poems about grass that I like it so much. Those are "Grass and you", "A reflection about Grass", "Corner of grass".

Through the grass, grass screen, poet Truong Nam Huong sees the whole microcosm to the great universe; the balance and paradox. Boy and girl who loves each other not once sitting on the grass, lying on the grass... watching the stars, counting the wind... and exchanging kisses of the "mysterious time" is such a pity.

"The two most peaceful places to lay your head / Grass and you in times of joy and sorrow / Fortunately the moon and stars reminded / Or else (we) taking each other to the bottom of our heart" (Grass and You).

Grass is always a witness, sometimes passionate or sulky. The Grass knows, which kiss is chaste, which is "smells of bargaining". In the time of materialism "taking center stage", love often fall short to material things, so "the kiss would smell like bargaining". Not having true love is a pity. Of course, no one understands what love is. That's why poetry is born and exists in the world. One of the functions of poetry is to decipher beauty, and love is one of the "angels" of beauty.

The poet Truong Nam Huong himself made this very clear: "People say they love each other, love and kiss on the grass / People say goodbye, say broken things / Grass listens to all – Grass is serenity and green" (A reflection about Grass).

In this poem, the grass becomes the philosophy "History has passed through dynasties / Grass has covered the kings, grass has covered soldiers / Grass is justice and compassion – Grass is serenity and green" (A reflection about Grass). The world of flowers and grass in Truong Nam Huong's poetry has the mission of "serenity, greenness and wisdom".

Yes, grass. In The Tale of Kieu, the great poet Nguyen Du used grass as a very magical art medium "The young grass is green on the horizon / The white pear branch is dotted with a few flowers". The grass through the genius pen of Nguyen Du also changed immeasurably in The Tale of Kieu. Grass color is both the color of space, the color of time, and the color of fate and mood.

Later modern poets have quite good verses about grass such as: "The green grass ripples to the sky" (Han Mac Tu), "The grass is lying on the grave waiting for vindication" (Nguyen Binh), "The grass next to the blue sky of Dam Tien" (Che Lan Vien)... The grass in Truong Nam Huong's poetry appeared hauntingly: ".../Higher than all suffering, higher than happiness/Green grass just like joy, green grass just like tears/Still admitting to being small – still serenity and green” (A reflection about Grass).

During the feudal period, people used the word "small people" to talk about the poor people "hamlet people, people people" (Nguyen Dinh Chieu). People are like grass, "small" - the lowest, basic class of "human society", numerous, always "serenity and green"; forever, even though tears or joy are still green. No one can replace the people. “There is nothing in this sky as precious as the people” (Words of President Ho Chi Minh). The grass in the Buddha realm thus teaches people about morality, about the balance of eternity.


“Vietnam has thousands of different trees and leaves; every tree is beautiful and every tree is precious” (Tep Moi). In the thousands of trees and leaves, many types of grass are precious Southern medicinal herbs such as spear grass, stevia, argentea... In history, people knew how to use grass as loincloths to cover their bodies; During the Tay Son period, Quang Trung's insurgent army knew how to use grass to make shoes and sandals to march to the North to destroy the invading Qing Dynasty...

During the national liberation struggle, grass was formed into rafts to cover for soldiers to swim across the river... At that time, the advice to soldiers "One green grass, two red breasts" before going to battle, has now become an idiom. The song "Old citadel young grass" (Tan Huyen), is forever a sacred and emotional song on the occasion of the Invalids and Martyrs' Day (July 27).

When I was a kid, I used to hunt for paradise fishes in the edges of the fields. That is, the grass reduces the impact of sunlight on microorganisms and soil microorganisms, creating a living and growing environment for microorganisms in the soil... So many useful effects.

Now, grass in the countryside is rare. Boys and girls who love each other, trample the grass on the side of the road is only in nostalgia. In the village fields there is also less grass, because the irrigation system was also concrete; Humans have long used herbicides extensively. Many varieties of grass were permanently never seen. Nature is eternally balanced, but humans have been destroying and narrowing their living space.

“People hoe the grass up, people plant the grass down/All pessimism, all hope/The grass receives that pain – serenity and green” (A reflection about Grass). Grass in Truong Nam Huong's poetry has ideological messages and immutable values. The grass is intense and undying!

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  • Có một Sài Gòn trong kí ức
    Sài Gòn, nay là TP. Hồ Chí Minh trong ký ức của những người xưa có nhiều điểm khác lạ so với hiện tại. Từ một vùng đất giữa bạt ngàn lau sậy, hoang vu, tiếng côn trùng rả rích đêm đêm... đã hình thành và phát triển thành một thành phố lớn. Trải qua bao phen dâu bể, bao lần đổi thay, Sài Gòn xưa bây giờ đã hoàn toàn đổi khác.

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