Poems of Hồ Xuân Hương : 詠屋𧋆 - River Snail

Title:詠屋𧋆 - River Snail
Fate and my parents shaped me like a snail,
day and night wandering marsh weeds that smell foul.
Kind sir, if you want me, open my door.
But please don’t poke up into my tail.
Notes:The river snail, inhabiting ponds and rice fields, is considered unpleasant and foul. Bóc yếm in line three means “remove covering,” punning on the word for the operculum (the glassy opening) of the snail and its homonym, a kind of brassiere worn by women of Hồ Xuân Hương’s time.