More poems and contributor notes in Chinese feature




Songtsen Gampo : Statue of the King of Tubo

The iron hoof has burned on the fertile wild land
But you, you have chosen the high plateau
Like snow, like a hungry animal, like the intoxicating lake, to wander around
you are destined for the grassland.

The highland is also destined by the totem
The numerous falling eagles
The snow lion hidden in the forest.

On the map, the wings and hoofs you have amassed
shrink into a deep red color that no one can repeat
The color of the sun, the color of blood,
a color which the next generation will never understand and tolerate.

Even among those who are not to endure, you have endured it.

A long time ago, I was crossing the border of your territory
spreading ancient love,
looking for your beautiful blue sky.

At last I understood,
your lineage is our natural dwelling which we cannot change
Before becoming proud I was haunted by feelings of inferiority.

Tears are hindering my sight
I cannot see the charm and gentleness which is written a thousand times inside me
I cannot see the magpie that consoles a lonely traveler.

Year after year, you were alone at the edge of the highlands
Charmingly naive you disrobe yourself
amazing a race with your transcendence above the worldly

You have taken a consort from far away,
and received also your own people's venerated Buddha
you defended the isolated life
you also brought faith through simple prayer

The country which has risen from the sea,
without gaining strength has become old and feeble.
Is the fire burning in your heart?

Occasionally there are those who awake from your ancestral line
Like you they wake and like you they fall,
at that time you cannot talk, you cannot express the agony
But I am in agony
I repeat my confession many times
I am in agony

Translated by Yangdon Dhondup