Tibetan Poetry in Translation: “Straying Far From Myself” by Ami Lhago

by Sampsonia Way    /  January 28, 2012  / No comments

Original Chinese Text of Ami Lago's "Straying Far From Myself"

Below Sampsonia Way presents a poem from Tibetan poet Ami Lhago, member of the Three Provinces of Tibet poetry group. The poem was translated into English by Dechen Pemba, editor of High Peaks Pure Earth, a blog dedicated to Tibetan news and literature. The poem below is reprinted with her permission.

The theme of the poems written for the 66th gathering of the Three Provinces of Tibet poetry group is “Straying Far From Myself.”

According to custom, the group’s members propose themes for the poems–for example: “Flying Knife, Flying Knife”, “Winter,” “Poetry with the Smell of Blood,” or “Mother, I…” After a vote, the final theme is decided. All poems in the series must contain this title and subject matter.

“Straying Far From Myself” is an apt theme for a time when Tibetan society is dramatically changing in the face of increased political violence, immigration, industrialization, and religious tensions.

Over the next weeks, High Peaks Pure Earth will post two translations of this series every Wednesday.

Ami Lhago’s “Straying Far From Myself” was originally published in English on January 18, 2012.

Straying Far From Myself

If you look back
Maybe you would see
Yourself
If you face up, gaze far into distance
Maybe you would see
Yourself
Perhaps these are not necessary
You might always be there, like those Russian dolls
Trapped in yourself deep down layer by layer
The lotus-like you
Is living in the centre

“How far have I strayed from myself”

You peel off, layer by layer, towards your heart
Search. Accidentally deviate from the direction
Trap your feet in the mud
In the phantom of the urban forest

November 11, 2011, in Ngaba

Read more poems in the Three Provinces of Tibet poetry series.

About the Author

Sampsonia Way is an online magazine sponsored by City of Asylum/Pittsburgh that seeks to protect and advocate for writers who may be endangered, to educate the public about threats to writers and literary expression, and to create a community in which endangered writers thrive and literary culture is a valued part of life.

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