The river flows a thousand miles under an endless sky.
Wisps of smoke float over a village ringed with mulberry trees.
An old fisherman sleeps on the bank. No one disturbs him.
When he awakens at dusk, his boat is ghostly with frost.
Remember how the body decays like an old wall.
Facing death, it is natural to be afraid, but when
you are filled with emptiness, you will see that
the separateness of the ten thousand things turns
out to be nothing but another delusion & you
will be able to allow the law of change that governs
everything—visible & invisible–to run its course.
Via the NY Times I see that Thom Jones has died at age 71, one of the most harrowing writers of the Vietnam War generation of Americans affected by the Vietnam War. (Jones shared both my alma maters, the Universities of Washington & Iowa for the Writers Workshop). A classic example of a specific American type. “The Pugilist at Rest” may be the single best story about the War’s influence on an individual soldier’s consciousness that I am familiar with.
Ed Mycue was asking in comments if I could post more Vietnam photos, so here is a selection taken mostly in & around Hanoi, with a few from Hue & Saigon (these latter mostly food). A few of the photos have gotten a little post production, but most are unretouched jpeg files. Some of these were taken with a Nikon D-90 & some with an iPhone. Most of the images are from 2010 & 2012; I’ll put together another gallery from my most recent trip one of these days. Click on an image to enlarge it.
My friends Long & Giang took me for lunch yesterday to a restaurant on Trấn Vũ beside Trúc Bạch Lake that specializes in Phở Cuốn, which is basically all the ingredients of a bowl of Phở Bò minus the liquid & rolled up in rice paper. It’s eaten by dipping in a slightly sour dipping sauce. This is the best thing I have eaten on this trip to Vietnam.
The restaurant is on a little island separated from the city by a narrow canal & Trúc Bạch is itself separated from the much larger & more famous Hồ Tây (West Lake) by a narrow causeway. After lunch we went down the street & drank coffee beside the lake.