Halting at South Holding Pass

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At Zhennanguan, left foot China, right foot Vietnam

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Halting at South Holding Pass
        Le Quy Don

Distant border posts 
        surround and protect 
                the august capital,
Their uneven terrain now worn flat.
Two mountains split
         a divide with sharp cliffs,
A single passage arrays mulitple walls.
Adhering to rites 
        tribute passes on its way,
The arrival of a command 
        puts hostilities to a stop.
Auxiliary officials 
        must be reverential and circumspect,
For a myraid leagues 
        there are walled citidels.
Zhù Zhènnánguān
Le Quy Don

Yuǎn jiào gǒng Xīngjīng,
Qíqú yì dǐ píng.
Liǎng shān fēn bàn bì,
Yī jìng liè zhòng chéng.
Bǐng lǐ tōng guībì,
Lái zhāng mí jiǎbīng.
Péichén wéi jìng shèn,
Wànlǐ yǒu Chāngān.
Translator: Liam Kelley 翻譯者

Lian Kelley points out that this is a very interesting poem for it is about the pass itself, the purpose of its existenc, and its meaning to Vietnamese officials.

For furthur dicussion of this poem read Liam Kelley's Beyond The Bronze Pillars, Envoy Poetry and the Sino-Vietnamese Relationship, U of Hawaii Press.

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