To my Anglophone friends

638864-bigthumbnailI would like to thank you for your positive response to my poem La goutte d’eau, although it was written in French. I would like to offer you its English version.

A few words about the context:

We are in Tonkin, the northern part of Vietnam. The year is 1885, shortly after the capture of Hanoi by the French. Traumatized by the Franco-Prussian war (1870-1871) and marital problems, Alexis Sorel lands in Haiphong to seek a new life. The tropical beauty of the land and the gentleness of the people charm him. The Raindrop is a poem he wrote in his journal. Alexis Sorel (Levilain) is my paternal grandfather. My novel entitled Grand-père, raconte-moi l’A-Nam (Grandpa, tell me about A-Nam) is dedicated to him.




The raindrop

Translated by Mary Margaret White and Guy Levilain.


It rained.

Drenched with water

dawn exhales its immense vegetal breath.

Green red blue smells

tamarind, flamboyant, mango.

White pink and emerald perfume

of jasmine frangipani and canella

and filling all my senses

the warm breath of the earth.


The sky above

so blue so calm

through the window I see

a palm.

A crystal tear

slowly stretches in a ray of light,

suddenly disappears.

Another forms

and in a glitter

also vanishes.


And I who never contemplated

the slow drip of the rain

I am discovering drop after drop

the frail beauty of life.


Photo, Raindrops on a forest leaf, courtesy of


Merci pour le partage