Three Poems by Hồ Chí Minh
by Mark Chmiel
Advice to Oneself
Without the cold and desolation of winter
There could not be the warmth and splendor of spring.
Calamity has tempered and hardened me,
And turned my mind to steel.
At the Political Bureau of the Fourth Zone of Resistance
I have traveled the thirteen districts of Kwangsi Province,
And tasted the pleasures of eighteen different prisons.
What crime have I committed, I keep on asking?
The crime of being devoted to my people.
Through the endless nights, when sleep refuses to come,
I write more than a hundred poems on prison life.
At the end of each quatrain, I put down my brush,
And through the prison bars look up at the free sky.
–Hồ Chí Minh