Poems of Hồ Xuân Hương : 餅㵢 - The Floating Cake

Title:餅㵢 - The Floating Cake
My body is white; my fate, softly rounded,
rising and sinking like mountains in streams.
Whatever way hands may shape me,
at center my heart is red and true.
Notes:Bánh trôi nước (“cake floats in water”) is a little sugary ball of sticky rice – often shaped like birds’ eggs – with a red-bean-paste center. The poem is spoken by a woman. But besides being about a woman’s fate, line two suggests as well the nation’s changeable fate with nước non, “mountains and streams,” the set phrase for “tation.”