Gade Tsering’s New Poem from High Peaks Pure Earth
High Peaks Pure Earth is a blog that provides commentary on Tibetan and Chinese writings. The website aims to bring attention to various issues occurring in Tibet and the People’s Republic of China. The imprisonment of environmentalist Karma Samdrup and the struggles of Tibetan writer Tsering Woeser are just two of the topics the organization has brought attention to.
The blog often features exclusive translations from Chinese and Tibetan writers like Woeser, that help spread awareness. Many of these writers face the threat of persecution by the Chinese government for their writing and spoken criticism.
Gade Tsering, a Tibetan blogger, writer, and poet, was one of the most recent contributors to High Peaks Pure Earth because of his outspoken voice in all his writings. He runs a widely popular Chinese language blog called Tibet, or After the Last Sky. Tsering aims to spread awareness about issues going on throughout the Tibetan region through his poetry.
“My writing is a sense of resistance. However, this resistance is the main source of my face in contemporary society, because it is invisible in this scene,” says Tsering’s blog.
Read Tsering’s latest poem translated into English below:
I am Tibetan
Because I’m Tibetan, every time I salute Mother Nature in awe:
The snow-covered mountains, the grasslands, the azure sky and the lakes,
I cannot help but throw my bloated body into her bosom. Because I know
She never rejects those who she loves.
Did you know?
“It was here my fellows had been imprisoned;
It was here the Defender of Faith of Chushi Gangdruk had been defeated.
It is here the smoke of the burning branches of mulberry trees swirl,
And the sound of spiral shell horns can be heard,
The roofs are flanked with coloured Sutra banners;
It is here, the chest of the plateau, my home,
In the early morning I offer a bowl of purified water to Buddha,
I will no longer ask for more: the existence of Tibet,
Which has completed my life and repelled my fear of loss.
It is here I have encountered you
As well as all living things.
It is here I have experienced the feeling of love,
As well as the feeling of being loved.
Because I am a Tibetan,
I always firmly believe in history,
Always firmly believe
In the existence of sacred spirit.
I hear different languages of different groupsIn my mother tongue, crying;
Those from blacksmiths, farmers, hunters,
From prostitutes, businessmen, vendors
I already disdain the scenes I’m seeing;
Although sometimes I still sing the Song of Emancipated Serfs,
I can recognize a guy with the sissy tone in his dialect must be a Shandong guy,
I can recognize a chick in the ugly photographer’s vest is a Sichuan chick.
At this moment, I’m touching the damaged Buddha,
Wondering how it should be possible
That a month later all these people would gesture and speak in astonishment:
“Since Tibetans have religious beliefs, how can a Lama kill people?”
I think everything is dreadful for a reason.
Where else could we head for,
If the whole land is darkened by night?
Because I’m a Tibetan, I have
A lot of memories:
“The monkey and the demoness
With the nature of getting along with Mother Nature in harmony,
And, the Tibet Empire and the Tibetan song of Gesar orally passed from generation to generation.
Because I’m a Tibetan,
I have been suffering from a life in misery;
Because I’m a Tibetan,
I have obtained enough comfort.
But it is in this autocratic winter
I composed this poem!
“Her eyes and the wrinkles on her palms are Tibetan,
Her name, Tibetan,
Her dreams and sorrows, Tibetan,
Her belief, her legs and body, Tibetan,
Her language and her silence, Tibetan,
Her voice, Tibetan,
Her birth and death, Tibetan” ①
How wonderful it is
To dream of parents!
I deeply believe that at this moment
I’m no longer in sorrow.
In this snowy night,
I get up to light a butter lamp.
I decide to take the prayer beads off my waist
And pray to Buddha.
At this moment, the night seems so real and profound.
Celestial burial is
Not frightening at all,
In my eyes;
In your eyes.
Because I’m a Tibetan,
I understand myself.
This time the rejection is
Related to your identity.
The Tibetan knife I carry with me every day is
Not for killing other lives.
You always wonder if in this world there ever exists a place
“Speak Tibetan because you are a Tibetan,
Celebrate Losar because you are a Tibetan.”
In my mother tongue I answered,
“Life and death are separated from each other.
I said I carry a knife with me
Because I soberly know who I am
And I want to intimidate myself.
There they came on a Saturday afternoon.
There they came, in buses appearing as armoured cars.
There they came, with buzzing saws, ropes and other equipment.
There they came, the seven workers.
There they came, the seven devils.
There they came, holding beer bottles like flowers, drunk.
There they came, in camouflaged green outfits.
With bright red faces,
in black leather shoes,
There they came…②
I am Tibetan,
I want to worship my gods in awe.
I am Tibetan,
I want to partake in all my religious festivals.
I am a Buddhist and I
Won’t allow anyone to take away this
baptism of mine.
How far must I go to arrive in the land of Tibet?
How far must I go to meet my parents?
How far must I go to wear Tibetan clothes?
We are heading for Lhasa.
The festered feet as the proof,
That our bruised bodies and hearts are
The garden is silent;
In the form of an eagle
Lhasa is flying.
Drawing near the thunder,
Comes soon the rain!
Because we are Tibetan,
We are treated differently from other minorities:
Enduring aggravating discrimination, imprisonment, torture and death.
Because I am Tibetan,
I am no longer in fear of anything.
Still a courageous Buddhist,
I lit many lights before our honoured Gods
In memory of my dead brethren
Just as usual.
Speaking in my mother tongue, I deeply believe that
At this moment, I feel peaceful and blessed!
Because I am Tibetan, I often ask
Apart from in Tibet, where else could we find a piece of land of the exiled
with such rich poetic sentiments?
February 10, 2010.
① An imitation of the poem “The Lover from Palestine” by the Arabian poet Mohamed Darwish
② An excerpt from “Saturday Morning” by the Iraqi poet Yusuf
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