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A Song from a Distance -- for Woeser

December 1, 2008

by Bhuchung D. Sonam
Tibet Writes
November 24, 2008

My body is trapped in a heated room.
Light shines from the ceiling.
A leather sofa invites me
To let my spine relax,
But my heart runs
To that river by the village
That bridge made of leather thongs
Rocking with the wind,
That dusty yard where
I was tied to a boulder while mama
Worked in the field everyday.

Here grey houses stare at me.
The people on the train,
Frozen, edgy, tired, lonely, lost,
Wish for other versions of their lives.
My mind runs to
That village by The Scorpion Hill
Where the willow trees whistle,
Where I once set a farmer's hut on fire.

I am now a hair of a dandelion flying with wind.

What about you, my rebel?
I see that you, too, are trapped
In a far corner of a mad city
Under stars shimmering bright yellow --
Does your sofa invite you?
Or is it the eyes on the wall that watch
Every twitch of your muscles?
I see that your heart runs away
To your home in the mountains,
Where under the blue sky
Pointed stars watch.

 From a distance I sing:
You and I are the fragments of an arrow
Shot forth from Gesar's bow,
You and I are the ears of barley
Watered by the Yarlung River.

Every day when I open the internet
My heart fears that there will be news
Of your disappearance,
Like Dolma Kyab into a cell
Before his Himalayas on Stir
Could be born to a family of books,
Like Jamyang Kyi taken away unseen
Soon after she produced the evening news,
Like that opera master captured in darkness
Before his songs became one with the wind,
Like that old woman from Barkhor
Who disappeared with her prayer wheel.

 From a distance I sing:
You and I are the pieces of a broken pot
In which Milarepa cooked his nettles,
You and I are the leaves of a juniper tree
Fragrant in the hills of Amnye Machen.

Here in exile, my wrinkles deepen.
The leaves fall from the trees.
You will sharpen your pen in that city
Where each of your words is measured,
Each breath checked, each step followed.
But your pen dances with tales
Which come to me in another tongue.

 From a distance I sing:
You and I are shattered words in a poem
Gendun Choephel wrote in his cell,
You and I are chipped pieces
Of Yurupon's sword that pierced the April night.

One day
You and I will have
A bowl of thukpa
In that dingy Lhasa hotel --
You and I will be
Snow lions roaming
the mountains of Nyenchen Thangla --
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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