To commemorate one year since the passing of poet, writer and environmentalist Khawa Nyingchak (1989-2015), High Peaks Pure Earth presents English translations of poetry both written by Khawa Nyingchak and for him by his friends.
The first two poems are by Khawa Nyingchak and were published on the website Qinghai Tibet in early 2015. The following two poems were published in Khawa Nyingchak’s memory just a few days after his passing on a widely-read Tibetan language website.
To see more tributes and to learn about Khawa Nyingchak’s life and work, see this earlier post: http://highpeakspureearth.com/2016/a-way-to-remember-tributes-to-the-late-khawa-nyingchak/
Thank you to Bhuchung D. Sonam for these translations into English.
“Offering Farewell Prostrations”
By Khawa Nyingchak
Evening wind burns the sun’s braids
Fingers of darkness guide the night wings
And on its lap I sleep alone with
Only the thoughts of you striking my mind
You have left and moved to a faraway place.
I am where I was, waiting
The springtime has returned again
Stretching eyes of hope wider and wider.
Though the flock of birds has returned from Mon*
You’ve left permanently never to come back,
The gaits of time dance on my eyelashes
Wails of the heart fall on my palms;
I am left staring into the blue skies
Teardrops languidly rim my eyes,
Letting this life fade to its closing stages
I wish to reach the shores of the life beyond.
Wings of the heart stretch across space
Where the strong wind howls in its borders.
Alone I stand stiff near the river
Raising my hands high to signal
That if in time I do not go back
I’ll sleep forever in this riverbed
Where my flesh and bones become offerings
To nourish budding trees and blossoming flowers.
* Mon, the birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama, is presently located in the Northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.
By Khawa Nyingchak
I spread seeds into the space of my heart
Hoping for a good harvest, and yet
You ran away to the land of happiness
Riding high on the bride’s horse.
Piling up all the words I could muster
To express my warmest affection, and
You, crying a little and laughing a little,
Left slowly, feigning to be embarrassed.
Don’t say the wind of karma is harsh
Or attachments of the mind too heavy;
Using your hands you found your footpath
You are indeed very fortunate.
When commotions of the world stir strong,
And if we meet again in the madding crowd
I’ll send across a smile of recognition, please
Acknowledge my presence with your smile.
June 27, 2015
“Moon of the Blue Lake”*
For Khawa Nyingchak
By Drognak (from Golok)
You offered your last prostration to the lake
Your final gaze to the snow mountains, and
Spent your last hours with golden fishes.
Then suddenly you left.
Kyema, what a great loss!
What has your evening thrown at us?
As our lungs and hearts splintered
As our hands got burnt
As our knowledge drowned in the depth.
Smiles of the night have pierced our hearts
Words of darkness have fallen into the core of hearts,
And just like that, one of the sons of snow has left
Walking into the space … he left.
Blue Lake, you are a mirror made of turquoise
In which only your face appears.
Did you see the moon last night?
Did you see it smile?
Did you see the lives of tens of thousands of golden fishes?
* Tso Ngonpo in Tibetan and Kokonor in Mongolian is the biggest lake on the Tibetan Plateau.
For Khawa Nyingchak
Is there fragrance of flowers in the leaves of grass?
Is there scent of grass in the depth of forest?
Do pebbles in the river smell of water?
Is this summertime?
This bird called cuckoo may be famous, but its voice has a tinge of noise
Grasses may grow thick, but they do not quench the hunger of domestic animals.
This year was summer. It was winter too.
Were there flowers on the seashore where you walked?
What was on the seashore as you approached?
As you walk gently
Will the fins of golden fishes regain their strength?