Monday, May 3, 2010

"I Am Tibetan" Poetry and Prose Pieces

High Peaks Pure Earth has been following the online activity related to pride in Tibetan identity. Our first posting about this was in the run up to Losar, Tibetan New Year. More recently, we noted the continuation of these feelings expressed online in the aftermath of the Kham earthquake

Over the Losar period, Tibetan writer Woeser posted several poetry and prose pieces written by Tibetans on her blog, all of which had the same title "I Am Tibetan".  The following translation is just one of the pieces from that post:

I Am Tibetan 
by Dechen Hengme

An imagined frail chestnut horse, In striding steps speeds over the plateau

In a place faraway I discover the ocean, its welling waves and tides

The wind gallops away over the grasslands

At this my pen came to a stop, and I felt a certain frustration and loss. The thought of an emaciated chestnut horse out on the prairie as it collapsed in the grass, thin, helpless and dirty streaked my face with tears – who had abandoned this poor horse in these desolate grasslands? Not a glimmer of light on the vast prairie but for countless miniscule starlights across the broad sky. The chestnut horse lay by a sudden bank of shingle, and the shingle was as cold as black iron with clusters of grass struggling to grow between the stones. Inky tones grow in the colors of dusk. And I’m thinking: a bank of shingle on the vast grasslands as affectionate as this by the horse, as though guarding it, and all memory of it will be lost in the last gasps of this life.

The light from myriad stars outshines the moon, hidden in cloud; the moon sees all this, but sees not the recovery of life. The light from myriad stars does not stop, as though it cannot wait, but their power is so faint and remote! This horse of the imagination is frail, its body young and immature. It has probably never had the joy of running for miles across its land, let alone had the wind in its mane leading it to neigh long and hard. All that is from an age when it was young, in the memories of horses before they were lost, when it nuzzled close to its mother and drank from her udders in sunny days and every day was as cosy as the next. When wind and rain drove down to where it hid below its mother’s knee, it sheltered from disaster on disaster. But now it is left alone in the world, with nothing left but memories of black iron beside it in a desolate scene where soon it will die.

The black iron is silent and the grass upon it bends to the wind. There are no words, no questions, no answers for anything. All that remains is a wisp of a thought that accompanied by the night will pass from these vast grasslands.

Marco Polo, Qingtang
(Marco Polo is the author's pen name, Qingtang is the old name for the city known today as Xining in Qinghai Province)

Over on Woeser's other blog that she runs with Wang Lixiong that collates online articles about Tibet, the following comment appeared on April 10, 2010, at the end of a long post about the late X. Panchen Lama:

The comment reads:

Tashi Delek friends, I feel very moved, let's all keep on going together, we should all say everyday three times, I am Tibetan, I am Tibetan, I am Tibetan

Finally for this posting, on March 18, 2010, a Tibetan blogger calling themselves "Khampa Snow" posted the following "I Am Tibetan" poem online:

I am Tibetan
By "Khampa Snow"

I am Tibetan
A black-haired and ochre-faced Tibetan
My feet have trod countless snowy peaks
In our proud realm of snowy extremes
Sincere smiles
Remain through summer rains and winter snows
Our will and grit shine yet through bitter cold and cruel heat

I am Tibetan
A compassionate-hearted Tibetan
Prayer wheels and beads have flown in my hand since time eternal
Our piety was cast in Shambala’s pure lands
The six-syllable mantra is muttered
Under the discriminatory gaze of others and the ridicule of misunderstanding
We pray as ever for harmony and well-being for all living things

I am Tibetan
A Tibetan who can sing and dance
The seven colours of the rainbow are woven into my long flowing sleeves
And our jubilant dances raise the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers
Our innocent dances and
Songs of praise sound out in the golden era, delight dances through the soul

I am Tibetan
A dream-cherishing Tibetan
The wisdom and glory in the 30 letters of the Tibetan alphabet
Shine on the path of our progress
The milk of ten bright cultures
Fortifies our minds and bodies
With the blessings of our ancestors’ culture we stagger out with leaps and bounds into the ranks of the world

I am Tibetan
The agitated blood in my veins is a constant reminder
I am Tibetan
In my lilting mother tongue I want to say loudly
“I am Tibetan”

High Peaks Pure Earth will continue to translate poems and online pieces on the theme of "I Am Tibetan".

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