“No Matter Where I Am, You Appear Before Me”: A Song And a Poem About An Absent Parent

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a Tibetan song and a poem by a Tibetan blogger, each about missing an absent parent.

The first translation is of the song, “Longing”, a very popular old song by perhaps the most famous singer in Tibet today, Yadong. Regular High Peaks Pure Earth readers may also remember “Mentally Return” that had Yadong team up with three of his students to sing about Tibetan unity. The song is directed to an absent Mother. Missing a parent is a familiar trope in Tibetan popular songs and writings and is often interpreted as a veiled reference to the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama, who turns 76 today, is seen as a parent figure by Tibetans. Common allusions to nature such as the sun, clouds and stars can also be interpreted in this way. For a more recent song that can be interpreted in this way, follow this link to an English subtitled video of a rap by Dekyi Tsering titled “Father”.

 

“Longing”
Singer: Yadong

The great star in the sky
Twinkles, twinkles, as it rises
From the heart of this child
A tear falls, a tear falls

Ah, Mother!
Whatever I do, I will return
Whatever I do, I will return

The white cloud in the sky
Is like a letter sent to you
From the heart of this child
I say a prayer, I say a prayer

Ah, Mother!
No matter where I am, you appear before me
No matter where I am, you appear before me

The blue Mekong river
Maks a si’ling’ling sound as it flows
The voice of my Mother, resonates in my mind

Ah, Mother!
No matter where I am, I hear your words
No matter where I am, I hear your words

The second translation by High Peaks Pure Earth is the poem “Father” by female Tibetan blogger Siqing Dolma, posted on her blog on March 3, 2011. The personal narrative conveys the pain of absence using the metaphors of journeys, both physical and psychological.

 

“Father” By Siqing Dolma
– For the Great Man I Keep in my Heart

 

Oh Father
The early morning in my dreams
In my sleep-filled ears
You soundly remind me
That this year, when the moon is round
I should wear the turquoise necklace to come and visit you

Oh Father
You should really understand
Your sweet drops from heaven
Watered the fields of my heart, which had been dry for so long
Completely unprepared, my tears fall like the rain
Until the sound of crying awakens my loved ones

Oh Father
Do you remember?
800 years ago
On that stormy evening
In order to search for the karmic connection of a thousand years of reincarnation
Leaving behind your picturesque family, and children as precious as jade.
Alone you travel

Oh Father
This search
Just turned 18, I began to carry the heavy load
This search made me grow up
Oh Father
All the green grass and fresh flowers glide by your fingertips
That bud of Kesang flower, that grows between the cracks in the rocks told me so

Oh Father,
Do you remember?
That young girl who used to listen to you chant prayers every day in the Barkhor
Oh Father
Do you remember?
That young girl
Facing you, whole sacred body covered in magenta
Could only borrow the wings of the wind to listen to your sound
Oh Father
Can you remember?
That young girl, in that summer’s morning in Lhasa, where the city was enshrined in gold
Hiding in the shady willow trees of Norbulingka
Quietly waiting for your arrival
Oh Father
Do you remember
You borrowed the air’s condensation
To feel the sound of your heart

Oh Father
This life, this age
26 years ago
On this rich and benevolent earth
Among the beautiful sound of the black river
I became your daughter
Oh Father
Do you remember
When I was 20
You went alone into that distant country
Oh Father
Do you know
When you walked into the darkness of that night
The sun, the moon, the stars all wept with me
Oh Father
Henceforth
My fragile small self, took on Mother’s trust, and the hope and expectations of my little brother and sister
And carried them on my back
On that long and endless journey

Oh Father
Do you remember
Along that journey
I often lost my way
But your head was filled with stories, your eyes with wisdom
And guided me in the right direction
Oh Father
Do you remember
When I was 18
On that autumn afternoon
I carried the heavy joy
When I returned home
My mother and family
All wept
For the lines on my face no longer matched my age

Oh Father

Do you remember
Every Mid-Autumn festival
I would impatiently crawl onto the roof
Waiting for the moonlight to arrive
Oh Father
Do you remember
This is my most happiest memory
For I felt the brightness of the moonlight
Gazing at our existence
Understanding the language of our hearts

Oh Father
This year at Mid-Autumn Festival
I don’t want to gaze at you from the roof again
Oh Father
Do you remember
When I was very young
We agreed the day I calmed my footsteps
We agreed to meet on the date when I can stand up firmly
Oh Father
Do you understand?
So that every footstep was steady
I paid for it with my 26 years of my dream-like youth
Oh Father
On the path of my life
Once more when I am lingering
In the midst of my dreams you make me see the truth
Oh Father
This truth
I forget your path which day by day grew with more anguish and suffering

Oh Father
On nights when the moon is at its fullest
I will wear my turquoise necklace
And bring that bright mirror which I had held for so many years
With him I searched from thousands of miles away
And your youngest brother
We go to meet you
Oh Father
You will live as long as the South Mountain
Because last night I quietly broke the wings of the silver silk of the aging moon

Oh Father
I will always be your daughter, for the rest of my life
Oh Father
I am eternally grateful
Grateful that I am your daughter

March 3, 2011
 

This post is also available in: Chinese (Simplified)