From the Grandfather Series

Two poets–one Vietnamese and the other American–and in both languages. Michael H. Brownstein translated both poems from English to Vietnamese–his first attempt at translation.


Capella Evelyn, Nick name Bao La
Bao La!
Cháu gái bé Bao La

Từ bên kia trái đất

Chào đời! Chào cả nhà!

Chúc An khang Thịnh vượng!
Bao La tình nghĩa Mẹ – Cha!

Bao La bông lúa củ khoai tình ngườii!

Bao La bừng sáng bầu trời:

CHÂN – THIÊN – VIỆT-Mỹ đời đời Bao La!
Grand Father’s Bao La

Capella Evelyn, Nick name Bao La

Baby girl Bao La

From the other side of the earth

Born! Hi all!

Chúc An Khang Prosperity!
Loving Mother Love – Father!

Bao La cotton rice yam yams love!

Bao La bright sky:

CHAN – THIEN – VIETNAM – USA forever Bao La!
Grand Father’s Bao La


Anh Sáng Ban Ngày
Tôi đánh thức sấm sét từ bên trong,

một cuộc đụng độ khác,

ngân hàng khóc vì thiếu,

công ty điện thoại sủa,

hàng rào xuống cấp và sau đó

một trong những con chó của chúng tôi nhảy qua

và tôi không thể tìm thấy cô ấy ở đâu cả.

Tôi phải đi làm, tôi có

việc vặt và việc làm và giấy tờ,

nhưng điều này sẽ cần phải được giữ,

Con chó được tìm thấy, an toàn. Một kiểm tra

với hàng hóa, tôi sửa hàng rào, kéo

một vài cỏ dại, một cây bắt đầu,

và tăng cường nghiêng.

Đã có hàng trăm người ở bên ngoài,

ánh sáng mặt trời đằng sau độ ẩm của mây,

và rồi tin tức đến qua—

một cháu gái, sinh ra bốn giờ sáng,

sáu cân, khỏe mạnh, đã đẹp—

và mặt trời xuyên qua lớp mây,

những bông hoa rực rỡ bởi bức tường phía xa

mở khuôn mặt vàng xinh đẹp của họ,

bụi hoa hồng mở miệng đỏ,

những bông hoa nhỏ màu trắng, hoa tử đinh hương,

bồ công anh, mulberries chín

và tất cả đều đúng với thế giới của tôi.


I wake to a thunder from inside,
another clash of infection,
the bank crying about a lacking,
the phone company barking,
the fence degrading and then
one of our dogs jumps over
and I cannot find her anywhere.
I’ve got to go to work, I have
errands and deeds and paperwork,
but this will need to be put on hold.
The dog is found, safe. One check
to the good, I fix the fence, pull
a few weeds, a beginning tree,
and reinforce the leaning.
It’s already a hundred outside,
sunlight behind a humidity of clouds,
and then the news comes through—
a granddaughter, born four AM,
six pounds, healthy, already beautiful—
and sun breaks through the cloud cover,
the sunlit blossoms by the far wall
open their beautiful yellow faces,
the rose bush opens its red mouths,
the tiny white flowers, the lilacs,
the dandelions, the ripening mulberries
and all is right with my world.
So fresh and so clean.

Why Alexander the Great Left Nubia

Stories from the Talmud retold by Mirian

Alexander the Great was famous for his military might. When countries heard he was approaching, they would all but tremble with fright!

One day, Alexander the Great had set out to conquer a small village in Africa run by women. Word got out. The Nubian leaders gathered their skirt in their hand, and with their head scarves flaying in the wind, bolted towards the queen. A quick meeting needed to be done!

In quick hushed voice they spoke in their native African tongue. What should they do? How can they ever defeat the Great Alexander. Slowly slowly a plan was devised.

The day came. Alexander the Great and all his military might approached.

They came and towered over the entrance of the village. Lo and behold! Without weapons, the women came out. One by one, led by the queen in all her regality. It was a quiet but noble and beautiful procession. Drums played suspensfully in the background and no one spoke a word, save the the excited wind blowing around them.

Finally, the queen spoke.

“I salute you, the great and mighty Alexander. You are well known for your fierceness in battle and for your great victories.”

Everyone listened intently.

“We women have protected and defended our village alone. And we have been successful! Now, if you should come and attack us and win, what would it be said? The great Warrior fought with women and won?! What kind of victory would that be?”

The Queen paused to let the idea sink in. Then she continued, “Now supposing WE WON? What would be said then?”

With a faint smile, Alexander the Great, conceded, “You are wise. I will not conquer your land. Now fetch some bread for me and my men and we will be off!”

The queen bowed graciously and returned with her whole procession back into their village. As soon as they were out of sight, again they hurried and huddled to think and talk.

He needs bread? they wondered. Surely, there is a trick to this! So they, again, devised another plan.

After a few minutes, once again the whole solemn procession came out bearing bread. By then everyone had dismounted from their horses and waited for the bread. The women passed bread to everyone. However, when they bit into the bread, they realized it was hard! Each bread had inside of it gold!

“What is this!” Cried Alexander.

“Great and mighty Alexander” The queen began, unperturbed, “would you really be satisfied to come all the way over here… for a morsel of bread?”

With this, Alexander nodded and left. But before he left, he wrote on the gate of their city: “I, Alexander of Macedon, was a fool before having come to this country of women in Africa and having received their advice.”

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me.”
– Erma Bombeck

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
– Lao Tzu

“Whoever loves much, performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.”
–Vincent Van Gogh


A Poem by Michael H. Brownstein

(“New day”: Northern Hemisphere’s Vernal Equinox)

the first day of springshine,
the mirrors polished
rose water as centerpiece,
decorated eggs,
purple hyacinths,
living greens,
lit candles,
honey-soaked baklava—

Smile into the mirror,
Smell the water of roses,
fresh air.
Painted eggs,
Purple flowers,
Living plants,
Candles aflame,
Homemade sweets,

day conquers night,
soon seas of blossoms,
good friends and family,
wonder and awe,
one hand in another’s,
the sustainability of l.

Because of the urgency of the coronavirus, here is the site we go to: