35th – Austria – Mý Huê McGowran’s Poem

Mý Huê McGowran
VN Adoptee – Vienna, Austria
Translator, writer, proofreader


Poem by Mý Huê McGowran

Just below the 17th parallel
they fell from the sky
the day that others were killed for peace –
the day that, elsewhere, new lives bloomed.
Seven years into a war that divided the world,
26 days short of its end, precious cargo filled the hold.
Twelve minutes out, 12,000 feet up, a door blows out.
The Galaxy blows up, is down and grounded –
guts strewn upon the rice fields

just below the 17th parallel
six small souls survived
on a day that others were killed for peace –
on a day that coloured black childless couples’ hopes,
several years of barrenness between the weak and strong.
Twenty-six days cut from preciously short lives,
twelve minutes less lived. Hours of courage plucked
to clean up the watery paddies of death
just below the 17th parallel.


In memory of Operation Babylift,
Saigon, 4th April, 1975


Mý Huê McGowran is an Australian who grew up in an Austrian/Australian household on the Fifth Continent. She thus has Austrian/Australian/Irish roots – and Vietnamese as well. You can read more about her at: http://mcgowran.wordpress.com/who-i-am