NL (1930 / Vietnam)

A Summer Day In San Francisco

I arrived in San Francisco at noon
on a dark day similar to nightfall.
The slopes hazed far above with fog;
People crowded like in a festive mall.

The distant sea surface was dim;
the petrels inclined their wings still;
the sails glided past one after another;
the breeze brought a breath of chill.

From this side of the straits,
I looked at the other along each span
and felt as if the suspended bridge
still retained the spirit of a gone man.

Oh, Strauss (*) , the old engineer!
Your heart and mind being so sublime
with marvelous lines in your design
have and will still live through time.

I got to San Francisco on the winding
and sloping streets with pleasure;
Like the transversely crawling crabs,
the line of vehicles rounded at leisure.

Going downwards then back upwards
around in four and each way trend,
the horizontal and vertical roads
drifted up and down as if waves bend.

The rows of houses one upon another
heaping up round the mountain side:
whose hands were so skillful to create?
what masterpiece did nature to us confide?

I entered San Francisco City
feeling tears in my eyes suddenly start;
I gazed far over the Pacific Ocean
and suffered pain in my deep heart...


(*) Joseph B. Strauss, the engineer who designed and built the Golden Gate Bridge, one of the seven wonders of the world.

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